Naming Names

Naming Names

Victor S. Navasky

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 0809001837

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


With a New Afterword by the Author

"An astonishing work concerning personal honor and dishonor, shame and shamelessness. A book of stunning insights and suspense." ―Studs Terkel

Half a century later, the investigation of Hollywood radicals by the House Committee on Un-American Activities still haunts the public conscience. Naming Names, reissued here with a new afterword by the author, is the definitive account of the hearings, a National Book Award winner widely hailed as a classic. Victor S. Navasky adroitly dissects the motivations for the investigation and offers a poignant analysis of its consequences. Focusing on the movie-studio workers who avoided blacklists only by naming names at the hearings, he explores the terrifying dilemmas of those who informed and the tragedies of those who were informed on. Drawing on interviews with more than 150 people called to testify―among them Elia Kazan, Ring Lardner Jr., and Arthur Miller―Naming Names presents a compelling portrait of how the blacklists operated with such chilling efficiency.

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be written in accordance with the social command laid down by the Communist International.” Oblivious to the irony of his own recantation before HUAC, Schulberg wrote with insight that the American Communist movement is a reflection of a familiar Soviet literary phenomenon—“the organized attack on books and writers and the stylized recantation that almost invariably follows.” In 1946, for instance, the Central Committee attacked two of Russia’s outstanding writers, the brilliant Zoshchenko and

film it was—since the way to keep a secret of any importance is to keep it—was tempted in prison to tell my colleague, my comrade, the man who had been manacled hand and foot with me, the man who plucked chickens with me and sifted sand and gravel in a stream with me, the man who expressed such fine sentiments to me … what the name of the film was I had written. In prison, lonely, wanting to share, I almost did so. But I did not. If it had involved only me, I surely would have. But it did involve

zeal was remarkable but chiefly in contrast to liberal, middle-class indifference.7 That Party members, acting on behalf of Soviet definitions of the American interest, often distorted the goals of the non-Party organizations they joined may or may not be true. But they were never the “internal menace” portrayed by the myth. J. Edgar Hoover and the Justice Department put out copious memoranda and public statements referring to “15,000 potential Smith Act defendants,” in reality the number of

death she would lose Arkin as a client. She asked me as a favor to call Trumbo and make sure he wouldn’t cost her my client. I called Dalton and after cursing her out he said, ‘You tell Meta if I see her at a business meeting I’ll say hello but if I see her socially I’ll kick her ass.’ Usually Meta talked her head off but that day she didn’t say a word.” It is often forgotten that “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” was the second question asked the Hollywood

still condemned blacklisting, and the “regular” slate beat the “conservative” slate 16 to 2, but even the so-called regulars had pledged to sign the non-Communist (and nonfascist) oath. In September of that year the organization voted to expel any member proven “by due process of law” to belong to the Communist Party or to be guilty of any subversive act; and it pledged to use its influence and prestige to support the government against the “legally proven plan of the Communist Party to overthrow

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