Amy Herzog‘s play After the Revolution relates the anguish of Joseph family generations caught up by Communism. Central to the play is the revelation that their late patriarch, Joe Joseph, a victim of the McCarthy Era, had indeed spied for the Soviet Union. (While the Joseph family resembles that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Mr. Joseph’s role in the US Government adds a strong element from the Hiss-Chambers Case.)
The Village Voice seems unable to empathize with the impact that confirmation of spying would have on the Joseph family:
Emma and her elders naturally reel from the effect of the revelation, maybe a little excessively for 1999, when such informational shocks were already commonplace.
He heard the screams
Whittaker Chambers: The Spirit of a Counterrevolutionary
By Richard M. Reinsch II
(Indianapolis: ISI Books, 2010)
(Reviewed by Gary Saul Morson)
(Excerpts from “He Heard the Screams,” published in the November 2010 issue of The New Criterion)
Why do otherwise decent people embrace ideologies that entail the killing of millions? What is the appeal that made so many people, especially intellectuals, support Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao? Whittaker Chambers argued that if we are to combat the most monstrous evil in the history of the world—totalitarianism, as invented in the twentieth century by Lenin—we must understand what draws some people to it and makes others incapable of countering, or even understanding, its appeal.