Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Legacy of a Promise

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review - Legacy of a Promise

About the Book

Legacy of a False Promise by Margaret Fuchs Singer (The University of Alabama Press) chronicles the years during which the author's parents were exposed as former Communists and her father was subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee. In this memoir, Singer details her quest as an adult to learn about her parents' former political life and whether they ever spied for the Soviet Union.

Based on eight years of research using family records, FBI files, American University archives, personal interviews, and the declassified Venona cables, Legacy of a False Promise offers unique insights into the McCarthy era. Most "red-diaper babies" who have written on the subject had parents who refused to give in to HUAC's demands. Singer's work instead recounts the shame and series of betrayals that her father's decision to name names brought to her family. Furthermore, it explores the nature and activities of secret Communist underground cells, the motivation of New Deal government workers who spied for the Soviets and the campaign of the liberal anti-Communist movement to publicize its political position while defending a fired ex-Communist professor. Fuchs is believed to be the only American college professor who cooperated with the government and was fired.

Victor S. Navasky, author of Naming Names states that he is "in awe of Margaret Singer's brave and relentless attempt to disentangle and illuminate the complex ... issues raised by her experiences growing up as the child of a Communist, turned ex-Communist, turned informer. One might have thought that enough has been written about lives mangled by, and principles betrayed, during the so-called McCarthy years. Legacy of a False Promise shows that one would have been wrong."

This is a poignant meditation on family secrets, a father-daughter relationship in a time of crisis, teenage loneliness in the midst of trauma, and the effects of parents' actions on the lives of their children. It also serves as a timely reminder of the dangers of sacrificing civil liberties in the name of national security.

Margaret Fuchs Singer is retired from a 35-year career in special education. She lives with her husband, Michael Singer, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Legacy of a False Promise is available at major bookstores, online, or directly from the publisher.

Legacy of a False Promise: A Daughter's Reckoning
by Margaret Fuchs Singer
University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1674-7
Pages: 211
Price: $29.95 (Hardback)
My Take on the Book
This book was so truthful and straight forward in telling the story of one woman's struggle to maintain her integrity towards her values even when she is forced to see the truth of the lies that her father had been living for many years.

The author tells her powerful story in a down to earth way that any reader can appreciate. As a reader I was amazed that she was able to move past her experiences growing up and be able to move past them.

This book was filled with so many underlying powerful themes including: love, dignity, respect, compassion, courage, being true to oneself, perseverance, as well as how one person can rise up to be more than she can be from a beginning that would stop most in their tracks.

This book is well-written and engages the reader to the extent that they will want to continue reading no matter what.

If this book sounds like a book that you would like to have as a part of your own library, you can find it on Amazon!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Terms of Use  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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