Penniless Press Reviews A Communist Odyssey

A Communist Odyssey, by Thomas SakmysterThe Penniless Press reviews A Communist Odyssey: The Life of József Pogány/John Pepper by Thomas Sakmyster, professor emeritus of history at the University of Cincinnati.

The review summarizes, “Sakmyster’s scholarship… is thorough and praiseworthy. He writes clearly and intelligently.”

For more, read the full review here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Communist Odyssey

A Communist Odyssey: Now Available

A Communist Odyssey, by Thomas SakmysterThe Central European University Press of Budapest and New York has published A Communist Odyssey: The Life of József Pogány/John Pepper by Thomas Sakmyster, professor emeritus of history at the University of Cincinnati.

The book launches during the 2012 annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). Dr. Sakmyster will appear there: New Orleans at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, November 16, 2012, at the the Central European University Press booth.

1 Comment

Filed under Communist Odyssey

A Communist Odyssey

A Communist Odyssey, by Thomas Sakmyster
“Thrilling, Exciting, and Engaging”

The Central European University Press of Budapest and New York is publishing A Communist Odyssey: The Life of József Pogány/John Pepper in November 2012 by Thomas Sakmyster, professor emeritus of history at the University of Cincinnati.

Several Hungarians of the interwar period served the Comintern in key roles. Among them was József Pogány. Pogány served in the Hungarian Soviet Republic (1919). He joined the “March Action” in Germany (1921). As “John Pepper,” he helped form the American Communist Party (1920s).

Using newly available primary sources from Hungary, Russia, and the United States, Dr. Sakmyster traces Pogány’s development as a communist, his Jewish origins, reasons for his success, and his arrest and execution under Stalin.

Praise for A Communist Odyssey:

Thomas Sakmyster‘s well documented and insightful scholarly biography of József Pogány/John Pepper is a highly valuable and much needed contribution to the history of the American Communist Party. In the 1920s Pepper was a major figure, dominating the party for a time… Sakmyster also fills in Pepper’s earlier Hungarian background and role in the short-lived Hungarian Communist regime of 1919 as well as his later grim fate in Moscow during Stalin’s mid-1930s Terror, subjects about which little has been known.
John Earl Haynes, co-author of The Secret World of American Communism and The Soviet World of American Communism.

Coming from the author of Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground, this is a pioneering book on yet another post-World War I Hungarian émigré who became involved in the Communist movement in the U.S. Professor Sakmyster presents not only a solitary warrior, but also an important chapter of the Comintern as directed from Moscow. The book contributes to the understanding of the interrelations of Leftist politics and turbulent societies in both Stalinist Russia and in the United States. It reveals the various factions of the Communist Party of the U.S., the intrigues and political infighting, the often embittered party politics of the 1920s, the petty struggles for recognition, and money.
The author did outstanding primary research in German, Soviet, and American archives.
This is a thrilling, exciting, and engaging book.
Tibor Frank, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest

Leave a comment

Filed under Communist Odyssey

Washington Decoded Reviews Red Conspirator

Murray Seeger, a journalist who formerly wrote for the Los Angeles Times, has reviewed Thomas Sakmyster‘s book about J. Peters, entitled Red Conspirator for Washington Decoded.

Mr. Seeger writes:

Sakmyster… tells the story of Peters in copious detail. His narrative relies on sources in Hungarian, a language almost impenetrable to non-native speakers. Sakmyster’s knowledge of Hungarian history (both there and among the émigré community in the United States) also allows him to put Peters’s movements in a broader context not often found it books about spies.

More here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator

Thomas Sakmyster at the University of Cincinnati

Dr. Thomas Sakmyster discusses and signs copies of his new book, Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground.

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator

Red Puppeteer

Cold War scholar Dr. Harvey Klehr has reviewed Red Conspirator in The Weekly Standard.

Dr. Klehr calls the book a “fascinating account of the remarkable life of Sandor Goldberger, better known in the United States as József (or J.) Peters…”

He states further:

Based on careful and extensive digging in American and foreign archives, particularly in Hungary, Red Conspirator is both a lively and well-written book, and the best life story yet published in English of a particular Communist type: the professional revolutionary who lived virtually his entire life in the shadowy netherworld where legality shaded into illegality and loyalty to Moscow…

Please click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator

UC’s McMicken Notes New Book

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences notes publication of Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground by Thomas Sakmyster:

Once considered a secondary character in U.S. communism, evidence uncovered by Sakmyster shows Peters was in fact an important actor in organizing the American communist party.

( > more )

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator

Researching the man of mystery

Dr. Thomas Sakmyster, author of the newly published book Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground, shares his experience in researching the “man of mystery” J. Peters:

I knew that I would face a formidable challenge in finding relevant sources… I was not able to find a single personal letter written by Peters during his 25 year sojourn in the United States., and only a few scattered documents dealing with his conspiratorial work… Almost nothing of value to a historian remained…

The FBI had never really discovered anything about Peters’s espionage activity… In the end they could prove only one crime against him: the use of a forged passport. This was the charge that led to J. Peters’s deportation in 1949.

full article)

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator

Head of the Whole Business

The American Mercury published a review of Dr. Thomas Sakmyster‘s forthcoming book, Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground, in “Head of the Whole Business”:

…Most tantalizing in Red Conspirator is the thwarting of one Federal agency by another. In the 1940s, HUAC and the FBI were working to flush out Peters’s role in the Soviet underground. Meantime, the INS was trying to deport him. (Peters chose to leave of his own free will prior to deportation.) Rounding out the book are scrapbook-like anecdotes about Peters in Hungary, from his return in 1949 to his death four decades later…

Red Conspirator represents a major contribution to scholarship in 20th Century American and International Communism. The approach and tone are scholarly. The findings are electrifying.

full article)
hyperlinked version on “Whittaker Chambers in Books”)

Leave a comment

Filed under Red Conspirator