For a peek into the mind of the "I was duped" school of ex-Communist, one should scan The Naked God by Howard Fast (who has since gone guru, according to the newspapers), a lamentably self-serving wail about his own sincerity and dedication to a cause he believed to be noble versus the flinty-eyed, cold cynicism of Party leaders, among whose major sins, it develops, was giving some of his books bad reviews. (My recollection is somewhat different, as when I first joined the Party it was pushing Howard Fast's turgid historical potboilers on a captive audience. In those days, the witch-hunting committees had coined the phrase "premature anti-Fascist" to identify Communists; I confess to being a premature anti-Fast-ist.)
Today the phrase Red Menace has a curiously old-fashioned ring, and the "dupes" have variously gone to their maker, faded into oblivion, or become American successes in business, letters, the movies. But thanks to the spate of True Confessions by Howard Fast, Whitaker Chambers, Bella Dodd, Elizabeth Bentley, Louis Bedunz, and many others, published in the fifties and later, they have left a lasting imprint on American political thinking, and in my view have done much to obscure the realities of life in the Communist Party.