Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dull Book, But Vivid Portrayal of Bad Time Long Gone, 3 Aug. 2013
This review is from: I Married A Communist (Paperback)
Philip Roth's I MARRIED A COMMUNIST, 1998, is one of his Zuckerman books, but one in which the author's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman simply narrates: the story of Ira Ringgold, whom he had known since his Newark Jewish childhood, as Ira was the brother of one of his favorite teachers, Murray Ringgold. Ira, perhaps defined by the fact that he was big, and rough, coming from a rough neighborhood as the Ringgold brothers did, began life as a teenage ditch digger in 1930s Depression Newark. Rode the rails, worked all over the country, as a miner, a steel worker. Joined the Army and fought during World War II. Improbably became a big radio star, and married an even bigger radio star, Eve Frame, who had been a very very big silent film star. (People who are familiar with the lives of some celebrities may well feel that Eve, a self-hating Jew born Brooklyn's Chave Fromkin, who climbs the social ladder by imitating her betters, including their anti-semitism, strongly resembles the beautiful British actress Claire Bloom, one of Roth's ex-wives. And that Roth is here further pursuing his quarrels with her.) At any rate, the fictional Eve delivers Ira into quite a desirable lifestyle, based in a Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York townhouse, beautifully furnished, where she frequently entertains glittering figures in the arts and literature. But he can't get on with her daughter from a previous marriage, Sylphid.

And Ira is a confirmed, dedicated Communist, bullying everyone around him with his political views, furthermore using his radio show to put forth the party's views. Then, in the early postwar years, comes the House Un-American Activities Committee, with its Inquisitional hearings intent on driving so-called Communists and fellow travelers from entertainment, and any other influential positions in American life. Demanding that its victims `name names' of other political undesirables. Creating various abominable blacklists that prevented its victims' employment, and hounded them into suicide and exile. The House hearings to be followed, in the 1950s, by the even more damaging Senate hearings of "Tailgunner" Joe McCarthy. Initially, Ira is protected by his relationship to Eve, but soon enough, his unstable marriage starts to crack up. And she publishes a bestselling exposé that identifies him as "an American taking his orders from Moscow." He is destroyed, personally and professionally. Because of him, even his brother, the teacher, loses his job; the McCarthyite witch hunters don't hold with Red schoolteachers, either. Ultimately, Zuckerman will be told that the witchhunt even reached out to him: he failed to receive the Fulbright Scholarship he was expecting, as he was thought to be a nephew of the Ringgolds.

In the 1990s, Roth won America's four major literary awards in succession: the National Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony: A True Story,(1991); the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock: A Confession, (1993); the National Book Award for SABBATH'S THEATER, (1995), and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for American Pastoral, (1997). He won the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union for I MARRIED A COMMUNIST. This greatly-talented, multi-award winning, world famous American author is, however, probably best known for his massively popular earlier books, Goodbye, Columbus; Portnoy's Complaint and When She Was Good. This book, told in long, dull, improbable flashback by Zuckerman and Murray, is probably best only for his more devoted fans, and/or those particularly interested in this dark period. But make no mistake about it; despite its flaws, here, in the guise of social history, Roth has created a vivid portrait of a bad time long gone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.8 out of 5 stars (17 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
£8.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Wilmington, NC USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 703