New York City
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin|
|Occupation||Writer, professor, historian|
|Known for||Rosenberg espionage case|
|Spouse(s)||Alice Schweig (m. 1959; divorced)
Allis Rosenberg Radosh (m. 1975)
Ronald Radosh (born 1937) is an American writer, professor, historian, and former Marxist. He is known for his work on the Cold War espionage case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and his advocacy of the state of Israel.
His most recent book, co-authored with his wife, scholar Allis Radosh, is A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, published by HarperCollins in 2009.
Radosh was born in New York City. His parents, Reuben Radosh and Ida Kretschman, were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He has stated that his earliest memory is of being taken to a May Day parade in New York's Union Square.
During the 1940s and 1950s, he attended the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, both of which were private schools attended mainly by the children of New York's Communists. He also attended the Communist-run Camp Woodland for Children in the Catskill Mountains. His memoirs vividly describe school-day encounters with Mary Travers, Woody Guthrie and Peter Seeger. On June 19, 1953 he demonstrated in Union Square with other members of the Labor Youth League against the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Radosh began attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the fall of 1955. He has said that his desire at the time was to study history, which Karl Marx considered queen of the sciences, and to become a leader in America's communist movement. Despite being raised to always defend the actions of the Soviet Union, Radosh developed a close friendship with Prof. George Mosse, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany and anti-Stalinist.
In 1959 he arrived at the University of Iowa intending to work towards his Master's Degree. Despite being raised as a red diaper baby in a Stalinist family, Radosh was shocked by revelations of the dictator's crimes which began to be released during the Khrushchev thaw. Although he had been a leader of Madison's Labor Youth League, he eventually broke with the Soviet-backed Communist Party USA of his parents and became a founding father of the American New Left. Radosh's fondness for the writings of Isaac Deutscher enraged the Madison Communist Party cell. Their attempts to bring him back into the Party line was a major part of Radosh's break with Communism. In 1963, he returned to New York City with his wife and children.
When Norman Thomas died in 1967, I wrote what may have been the only published negative assessment of his life. Most obituaries heralded Thomas as the nation's conscience, a man of principle who had turned out to be right about a great deal. Of course, Thomas was against the war in Vietnam; he had made a famous speech in which he said he came not to burn the American flag but to cleanse it. But for radicals like myself, that proved that he was a sellout. His opposition to the war was so tame, I argued, that he actually helped the American ruling class. I claimed that Thomas' opposition to LBJ's bombing campaign was only a "tactical" difference with the President. Thomas' chief sin, in my view, was to have written that he did not, "regard Vietcong terrorism as virtuous." He was guilty of attacking the heroic Vietnamese people, instead of the United States, which was the enemy of the world's people. My final judgment was that Thomas had "accepted the Cold War, its ideology and ethics and had decided to enlist in fighting its battles" on the wrong—the anti-communist—side.
Radosh is currently an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and professor of history emeritus at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. His commentaries on the Rosenbergs and other topics have appeared in The New Republic, The Weekly Standard and National Review, and the blog Frontpagemag.com. His memoirs are entitled Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left.
In the 1983 book, The Rosenberg File, he and co-author Joyce Milton conclude that Julius Rosenberg was guilty of espionage and that Ethel was aware of his activities. A second edition in 1997 incorporates newly obtained evidence from the former Soviet Union. Radosh also condemns prosecutorial misconduct in the case.
Ronald Radosh married Alice Schweig on the summer of 1959. He recalls, "Our wedding was on Labor Day weekend, and after the ceremony we drove into New York to spend one night in town. We celebrated our wedding by watching the annual proletarian Labor Day parade that still marched through downtown New York." They separated in 1969 and later divorced.
In October 1975 Radosh married Allis Rosenberg, an American History PhD, with whom he has co-authored two books. The couple reside in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Radosh's son Daniel is an author, blogger and staff writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Radosh reviewed Diana West's American Betrayal in FrontPage Magazine. He criticized her limited knowledge of the scholarly literature and called her thesis a "yellow journalism conspiracy theory." Michael J. Totten also praised Radosh's "masterful takedown". John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, scholars of Soviet espionage, came to the defense of Radosh in an article rejecting the crucial contention that Roosevelt's right-hand man, Harry Hopkins, was a soviet spy. Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident describes Radosh's review as dishonest and full of distortions.