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.

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