The Writings of Historian Ron Radosh

radoshDiscover The Networks is proud to announce that it has newly added, to its website, a massive archive of the writings of the eminent conservative historian (and former leftist) Ron Radosh. This archive includes many hundreds of articles wherein Radosh shares his deep understanding of the leftist worldview, thereby greatly enhancing the mission of Discover The Networks as the premier database on the American Left for writers and researchers. To view the contents of the archive, click here.

In his writings, Radosh aims “to challenge those who believe they have no need to be tolerant or broad-minded, and think that anyone who sees things differently is a secret leftist, a fake conservative, or worse.” While characterizing himself as “a center/right conservative,” Radosh takes pains to emphasize: “I differ with many conservatives on many issues.” Marty Peretz, former editor and publisher of The New Republic, once described him as “the myth-busting historian”—and that, says Radosh, is “a term I am rather content with.”

Radosh was born in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1937. His parents, Reuben Radosh and Ida Kreichman, were Jewish immigrants from Russia who raised their son in a leftist, though not Communist, home. “Neither of my parents were Communist,” says Radosh. “I was brought up in a Red Diaper baby milieu, but my father was a fellow-traveler who distrusted the CPUSA, and my mother was an anti-Stalinist Jewish anarchist.”

In his youth, Radosh attended Camp Woodland for Children, in Phoenicia, New York—first as a camper, and later as a counselor. The children at this facility were thoroughly indoctrinated with Communist and socialist propaganda under the guise of “humanitarian values” like civil rights and social justice. “The camp’s ‘progressive’ agenda that it heralded,” Radosh recalls, “was a code-word for the politics of the Popular Front, the Communist-led coalition of liberals and Communists that formed the left-wing of FDR’s New Deal, and tried to stay together to fight the Cold War liberals in the period of Harry Truman’s presidency.”

In the early 1950s Radosh attended Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City, an essentially communist institution that was the upper division of The Little Red Schoolhouse, an elementary school that Radosh and his peers commonly referred to as “The Little Red Schoolhouse for Little Reds.” Today, Radosh traces his decision to become a historian to “the inspiration” he received from an admired Marxist-Leninist history teacher at EI, “who told me that ‘Marx said history is the queen of the sciences.’” “My adoption of communism and a belief that it was the key to all truth,” Radosh adds, “stemmed from what I was taught by my high school teachers,” virtually every one of whom was a member of the American Communist Party. “Impressionable young people like me learned that being decent meant being a good leftist,” says Radosh.

During the Vietnam War, Radosh was actively involved in the peace movement, from whose platform he extolled “the heroic Vietnamese people” while denouncing the United States as “the enemy of the world’s people.” He was particularly angered by what he perceived as ideological betrayal by Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party of America’s six-time U.S. presidential candidate, when the latter wrote that he did not “regard Vietcong terrorism as virtuous.” “My final judgment,” Radosh recalls, “was that Thomas had ‘accepted the Cold War, its ideology and ethics and had decided to enlist in fighting its battles’ on the wrong—the anti-communist—side.”

During the Vietnam War era as well, Radosh served as a faculty advisor to the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a radical organization that quickly morphed into terrorist activities as The Weather Underground. He was also a member of the Movement for a Democratic Society, SDS’s adult support group composed of young New York City faculty. In addition, Radosh joined the socialist New American Movement in its first phase, as well as the New University Conference, an alliance of leftist professors from the New York area.

A watershed moment in Radosh’s intellectual journey occurred when he began writing The Rosenberg File, published in 1983. At the outset of that undertaking, Radosh was convinced that the infamous Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were innocent of the espionage charges against them—and his objective was to use historical evidence to prove that premise conclusively. But his research led him to crucial information that he had not expected to find, and “it quickly became apparent that they [the Rosenbergs] were guilty as charged.” “Seeing that the evidence did not square with the views I believed,” says Radosh, “I went with the evidence, and began to reevaluate the left-wing mythologies I had always thought were true.” This, in a nutshell, has been a defining characteristic of Ron Radosh’s scholarship throughout his professional career, both as a leftist and, later, as a conservative. No belief, no icon, is so sacrosanct as to be inaccessible to the potentially withering light of reason.

Today Radosh finds a powerful sense of purpose in trying to help impressionable young people avoid being misled by the corrosive deceptions of the modern Left:

Although the period I considered myself a communist was thankfully a very brief one, and decades ago, I realize how if someone skillful had been around to counter the misinformation I was regularly fed, I could have avoided taking such a path that led to some wasted years. Today, equally idealistic and well-meaning young people, who now as before crave a better world, join movements and organizations that espouse a totalitarian mentality because they believe they are promoting social justice. They too think their oppositional stance will lead to the utopian future they think remains possible—not understanding that no such utopia exists for them to make possible, and that their actions will only make things worse.

Further, Radosh seeks “to hopefully provide the kind of wisdom that will allow some to avoid taking the path of utopian fantasies that can never be realized, and to write works as a historian that give my readers a real perspective on our country’s path—rather than the kind of ideologically motivated ‘history’ of an Oliver Stone, that takes material out of context to fit it to his preconceived, communist world-view.” “I find myself angry and as motivated as I ever was to try and tell what I consider to be the truth,” says Radosh, “and to take up and challenge all the charlatans that surround us.”

Harvey Klehr, Professor of Politics and History at Emory University, says: “Few contemporary intellectuals have been so reviled by the Left, but Ron has never flinched in his determination to tell the truth.” Historian John Earl Haynes views “Radosh’s refusal to be cowed or silenced” as “a model of how a scholar must resist the intimidation by pro-Communist partisans within and without the academic world.”

In addition to his writing, Radosh has served as a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Communitarian Studies at George Washington University; a Professor of History in the City University of New York’s Graduate Faculty; Research Director of a report on Radio and TV Marti, which was funded by Congress under the auspices of the United States Information Agency; Associate Director of the American Federation of Teachers’ Office of the President; Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute; and Professor of History Emeritus at Queensborough Community College.

To view the contents of the Ron Radosh archive, click here.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Jason P

    While further to the [libertarian] right, I appreciate and enjoy Radosh’s work. Actually Radosh does more good being close to the center. He is a plausible bridge for any open-minded leftist. Let’s remember that there are good honest people on the left that just haven’t heard the other side … or at least those of us on the reasonable right. Ron and David understand the mindset and can speak the language. Wish them well. … Now back to that reading list.

  • BagLady

    This may not be the best forum for my message. However….

  • russell owl

    amitai etzioni and the communitarian center at GW seems a slippery posture to espouse truth from. Maybe the position as a senior researcher gave him insights into the UN and their tentacles both on the left and right, through which the deceptive civil society and social justice mask totalitarian dictatorship and the anti judeo christian milieu which dominates the cultural atmosphere today. Better do my research before commenting and look forward to diving into this archive. thank you.

  • xymbaline

    Sorry, David, I don’t buy it. I watched the treatment of Diana West by you and Ron several months ago. For you, I extend the courtesy of a peaceful difference of opinion. For Ron, I don’t. He was all the things we have come to see and despise in the Left. He was ad hominem, he was vitriolic, and, since I have experience as a reviewer of books, he was horribly bad, verging on incompetent. I canceled my subscription to PJTV because they started using him as a columnist. Simply put, I have no trust in him as a human being.

  • Kwan

    What a lot of these saps, suckers, and morons that buy into the left’s rope-a-dope hyperbole fail to perceive, is that in many cases once these leftists take over a country paranoia sets in and the leaders instead of delivering the promised “social justice” and “fairness”, implement a brutal and repressive regime in order to stay alive and in power.

  • Leland64

    I spent some time in Vietnam in the infantry in combat at rifle platoon and company level. I have to say the VC and NVA were brave, competent soldiers buoyed by the political support Radosh and assorted fellow travelers/communists provided. Countless US Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors were killed or maimed due in part to your support of the VC/NVA. I am pleased you all finally discovered the truth and may forgive but will always remember you supported the enemy. There is blood on your hands.

  • Eric Paddon

    “Radosh aims “to challenge those who believe they have no need to be tolerant or broad-minded”. What a hypocrite! Radosh, Horowitz, and convicted felon Conrad Black all demonstrated what being intolerant and narrow-minded was all about with their despicable smear jobs of Diana West, and their craven and cowardly refusal to allow conservatives to have a free and open discussion on the infiltration of communist agents during the FDR administration. Radosh is also an exposed liar regarding his treatment of M. Stanton Evans (whom Radosh and Horowitz are now too cowardly to confront directly, given that Diana West’s book merely ECHOES the research Evans and the late Herb Romerstein did). I will never read anything Radsoh and Horowitz (or crap artist Conrad) put out again because they have acted with total dishonor in this recent incident that undermines everything I once admired about them. Until they apologize to Diana West and start acting like real believers in tolerance and broad-mindedness they don’t get the time of day from me again (and I say this as one who twenty five years ago once with pride donated a copy of “Destructive Generation” to my college library)

  • ameryx

    Can we look forward to Mr. Radosh’s apology to Ms. West for his abusive treatment of her? It is one thing to disagree on a topic. It is another thing entirely to indulge in vitriolic personal attacks.

  • Lilalee

    I wish Diana West’s fanatical supporters would get over it already. All Ron did was to write a critical review of a book he disagreed with. This crusade against him is totally over the top. All I can say is thank you Ron for all of the great work you have done…you deserve this retrospective.

    • Eric Paddon

      He did not write a “critical review” he wrote a sewer-laden personal attack hatchet job that was his dishonorable way of trying to do an end-run attack on Stanton Evans’ recent scholarship on the SAME topic that raised his ire in West’s book and which West was merely using as her source information. If Radosh were honest and a man of integrity he would have gone after Evans, but the last time Radosh did that with his review of Evans’ book on Joe McCarthy, Radosh committed a number of falsehoods that Evans took him to task for. Horowitz then compounded things by not only running this unprofessional and dishonorable hit job, he censored a favorable review of West’s book and Horowitz also piled on in the personal attacks on West. I won’t support people who make a sham out of the principles I believe in and decide that debating the impact of Communist infiltration in the FDR administration is a subject deemed off-limits and that conservatives can’t have an open discussion on the topic.

    • pwnful truth

      “Over the top” describes Radosh’s attack on West’s book. I read American Betrayal, and Radosh’s “takedown” of it is so dishonest and “over the top” that I will forever question whether Radosh is actually a “reformed” communist. All of his writings that I know of all cover ground which was long ago lost by the left. He writes about Amerasia and Hollywood communists who were already well known. He exposed nothing new, and it appears he might have only been building credibility as an “anti-communist,” so as to be a more potent propagandist for them. Ron Radosh the communist calling an anti-communist book a bunch of crap does little damage. But Ron Radosh the “respected” ANTI communist saying the same thing does a lot.