Ronald Radosh

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Ronald Radosh (born 1937, New York City) is an American historian specializing in Cold War espionage. His critics have accused him of exaggerating the significance of Soviet espionage in the United States, while he maintains that they are naive, doctrinaire Leftists, who haven't reconciled themselves to the crimes committed on behalf of Communism, and whose enmity stems from that fundamental flaw.

Early life

Radosh was born on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1937. His parents, Reuben and Ida Radosh, were Jewish immigrants from the former Russian Empire and lifelong members of the Communist Party USA. A self-described Red Diaper Baby, he attended the Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School.

Academic career

During the 1950s, Radosh attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he engaged in jam sessions with a young Bob Dylan. During the Khurshchev thaw, he broke with the Soviet-backed Party of his parents' generation and became a founding father of the New Left. A former participant in campus radicalism during the 1960s, he recalls in his memoirs that many otherwise Left-Wing professors opposed any effort to politicize the universities, arguing in favor of keeping them neutral as places of learning and inquiry.

The Rosenberg File

Although he has admitted to having had doubts about aspects of the movement for a long time, his decision to break with the left was sparked by his research into Rosenberg case. In 1978, Professor Radosh began conducting research into FBI files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Although he had originally intended to prove the innocence of Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel, Professor Radosh was eventually convinced of their mutual guilt.

After the publication of his research and conclusions in 1979, Professor Radosh was ostracized by his former comrades and attacked in print. He recalls how a longtime friend told him, "The facts are irrelevant. We need the Rosenbergs as heroes."[1]

Current Status

Radosh is currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.,[2] and professor of history emeritus at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York.[3] His commentaries on the Rosenbergs and other topics have appeared in The New Republic, The Weekly Standard and National Review, and the blog FrontPage Magazine. His memoirs are entitled Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left.


External links

Essays and Reviews


  1. Ronald Radosh, "Commies," page 157.
  2. Hudson Institute
  3. History Department