Tag Archives: FBI

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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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.

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hyperlinked version on “Whittaker Chambers in Books”)

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