“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