Roger L. Simon

"Only Victims"

A new book on the ‘blacklist’ – Red Star over Hollywood by Ron and Allis Radosh – has been recently published and is creating quite a stir for its revisionist view of this sacred moment in American radical history. Tom Wolfe himself has been quoted as saying the work puts an end to “the poignant myth of the Hollywood blacklist”.

I haven’t read it yet, but the book is on the top of my list after reading this intriguing review by Clive Davis in the London Times Online (link here is to Davis’ blog to avoid the firewall). I am doubly interested because when I first joined the Writers Guild more than thirty years ago, the aftermath of the ‘blacklist’ was still very much in the air and I met many of the players of the time. In 1970 I attended my first WGA awards dinner and, as luck would have it, it became a famous event. The keynote speaker was the best known of the ‘Hollywood Ten’ – Dalton Trumbo – who that night made his speech “Only Victims,” hoping to reconcile both sides from the blacklist era. It was not well received by a number of his screenwriting colleagues, including yours truly who regarded such an attitude in those days as liberal pap. I’ll be curious how I react when I read this new book. (FULL DISCLOSURE: The Radoshes’ work is published by Encounter Books who will be publishing my book, when I finish it. [Stop blogging already-ed.])

MORE: The NY Sun’s view here.