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West-bloc Dissident: Memoir of an Anti-CIA Activist Paperback – 1 Nov 2001
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Incredibly well written. You will be captured by Blum's prose and his facts!
Nearly all his fellow travellers left the noble cause. But he persisted and brought us such important and extremely revealing and painful books as 'Killing Hope' and 'Rogue State'.
More, he is amazed that some fellow travellers were CIA infiltrators! Or, that Big Brother lurks nearly permanently over his shoulder.
It was not only a battle against the powerful, but also against himself: his strife to live an easy life (as he says himself: his true, greedy capitalist nature), instead of more or less one of an outcast.
At the end, he is disillusioned ('As a member of the human race, I was embarassed that the 20th century was ending the same way it began, with wars and violence') and scared ('that my own government, responsible for more of the misery than any other human agent, would scare me'). Nevertheless, he continues to fight.
This is a book by a courageous idealist, who continued to defend his political ideals in the face of many defeats, which he took terribly at heart.
As the Magistrate in Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians', he personifies the conflict between personal conscience on the level of the human race in its totality and the conscience of the member of a specific clan. In other words, it is the battle between the only Just and patriotic bloodthirstiness.
This is not to say that there are not some weaker points in this book: no mention of the fact that the URSS crushed revolutions in East Berlin, Budapest and Prague, or his total despise of social democrats or his big confidence (or should I say, illusion) in the real nature of mankind.
Of course, this autobiography contains a lot of strictly personal facts destined to the '(un)happy few', but I still learned a lot, e.g. Eisenhower, Patton and MacArthur crushed the Bonus Marchers of 1932 and got big promotions!
An exemplary account of a dissident life. Not to be missed.
The other reviewers here have done a good job expounding the details of West-Bloc Dissident's narrative. I won't add to these except to say a portion of the book's denouement centers on a scene in a London apartment in which Blum, sitting at his kitchen table reading Philip Agee's CIA tell-all 'Inside the Company,' comes across the name of a friend in whom Blum had confided for decades. Blum's reaction alone is worth the book's price; moreso because it's a true event.
If you're at all leftist in political orientation you could do worse than read Blum's book. If you're a right-winger perhaps this book (to borrow a phrase from Hunter Thompson) will make you spill your tea. If reading WBD does make you spill your tea, take video and post it on You Tube. Please.
Elites of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your workforce!