It’s the communists, run for your life!

Can you trust the communistsYou can trust the communists (to do exactly as they say!)

Fellow library comrades: I know I will hear from everyone about how this is an important piece of culture and we should never weed this kind of material.  Heck, I am old enough to appreciate the communist threat.  (I even had to sign a loyalty oath in the early 80’s as part of my job! – Go America!)  This book has a place in an archive or a museum, not in a popular materials collection for a small public library.  I think I am safe in saying that by 1989 this book lacked some punch.  In case you really want to feel old, today’s college students were probably born after the Berlin Wall came down.



  1. Yes! My girlfriend and I have a copy of this. It’s in our “Red Scare” collection, next to “Was Karl Marx a Satanist?” (I suspect not, but I didn’t know him personally. Plus, he ran around with that Engels character–no accounting for him at all!).

    Seriously, you had to sign a loyalty oath? Did they think you’d Defect with crucial public library secrets?

    1. Actually it was a school district and maybe they were scared I would tell those communists that Little Johnny got a C in math!

    2. I am glad that they made American librarians sign a loyalty oath, President Ahmadanijad – I mean Reagan – must have been very proud of you.

      Worked briefly for the British Library in London (before they fired me for caring about, er, books) and we had to sign the famous OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT. Not quite sure why; perhaps it was to stop us from giving away the secrets of their arcane in-house catalogue (which dates back to the mid-18th century) to those pesky Commies?

  2. I think I had to sign one too back in 2000. But that was back when I was a page, not a clerk, and they told me that part of the reason was because I put out the American flag every morning. Apparently I couldn’t touch it if I wasn’t a loyal American.

  3. This is pretty current since apparently communist is coming back in vogue as an insult.
    Seriously, I wish I had that book. I’d keep it next to my collection of early 20th century etiquette books and 1970’s craft books.

  4. I was six years old when the Berlin Wall fell. But despite my relative youth I am fascinated by the history of communism – ever since I lived for a year in Slovakia, and everywhere I turned was some monument to communism, even though it had ended 15 years earlier. So I would be interested in this book … but in a museum, definitely!

  5. I’ve always been confused by America’s attitude to communism: the party was/is legal for most of its existence, and yet discrimination against members was considered constitutional… Perhaps you all think that only one revolution was ever justified!

    1. I’m an American and I’ve always wondered about this. I didn’t learn what I know about communism until I was in college and took some advanced history and literature classes and studied labor history.
      Your blog says that you’re in the UK so I’m not sure how familiar you are with our education system. It’s been my experience that there is active disnformation being spread about the history of communism through the high school level. All that I was taught was that communism was very, very bad and just one step above fascism.
      But nothing’s ever mentioned about how active communists were in America from the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and they contributed many great things to our country.
      Sorry for the threadjack, but that’s always bothered me. It drives me crazy as someone who identifies as an anarchistw ith socialist leanings when people call Barack Obama a socialist or communist. It shows an utter ignorance of the actual ideologies.

      1. From Webster
        * Main Entry: com·mu·nism
        * Pronunciation: ˈkäm-yə-ˌni-zəm, -yü-
        * Function: noun
        * Etymology: French communisme, from commun common
        * Date: 1840

        1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
        2 capitalized a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d : communist systems collectively

        Sounds pretty much like the direction the Obama administration is going to me

      2. Sounds pretty much like the direction the Obama administration is going to me
        This really isn’t the place to discuss the intricacies of communism vs. Marxism vs. Stalinism vs. a mainstream democrat president in 2009. I’m sure you have much to contribute to the discussion since you’ve actually read Kapital and The Communist Manifesto (Oh wait, that’s not you, that’s actually me.) If you’d care to further discuss the matter, feelf ree to visit my blog. I really don’t care to have a repeat of the “Teh Gayz Are Ebil” threadjack.
        That is, since granny is in your SN, if you can find the time away from your mandatory Obama Death Panel TM meetings.

      3. I’m going to give you a courtesy that you haven’t extended to me. I’m going to assume that as well as Kapital and The Communist Manifesto you have read The Constitution of the United States and The Federalist papers. In spite of my obvious age(granny) and religious conservatism (Wyo) I have read all of them and am the proud owner of advanced degrees. It’s not true that religious conservatives are all honky rednecks married to their first cousins. The universe I inhabit is an informed choice. I believe you have the right to your opinion without being accused of being aberrant, and I do too. I choose to live the way I do and my belief says you can and must do the same thing for yourself. No doubt we’ll discover our own personal consequences in time. You might consider this I am the mother and grandmother of 12 religious conservatives with more on the way. I choose not to be a part of this any more. It’s clear we aren’t going to change each other’s mind. ALB can go on untainted by me.

  6. Lol the typography layout made me think this was “Can you trust the communists” at first though the real title is much more controversial. Some Reds must’ve planted this material to subvert suburban America! 🙂

  7. I’d take this for my personal collection, no questions asked. I don’t have a whole “Red Scare” section yet, but I can dream, can’t I?

  8. I was 10 years old when the Berlin Wall fell. I remember my middle school teacher was telling our class about a time her and her family visited East Berlin and upon leaving had to get their car searched in case they were trying to sneak someone out.

  9. Wait a minute, it looks like the blurb on the cover is signed by Billy Graham. I guess the title is ironic.

  10. I work with the teens here, who were born after the USSR broke up and do Yakov Smirnoff impressions although they only know of the style because they’ve seen it spoofed on “Family Guy.” I’m not yet old by most reckonings, but they’re speeding me right along.

  11. sigh, I was 9 when the wall came down. I remember seeing it on TV and thinking “I don’t know what this is about but it seems important, so I will remember this for when I am old enough to know what it is!” (talk about precocious)
    Thanks for making me feel old 😛

  12. This book is in the basement at my grandparents house and was a gift to my grandfather sometime in the Sixties. Apparently the gist of the book is that you can trust the communists to be bent on world domination and whatnot.

  13. For me, the sad thing is our collection here at Backwater Rural Branch (BRB) U still has a good number of books like that in the circulating collection. With no funds for major replacment, weeding means removal and empty shelves. Not that it matters. Dr. Campus Prez here actually believes we have too many books (true story).

  14. Just weeded this and our collection of “evil communist infiltrators” books from our community college library this summer. Had multiple copies of J.E. Hoover’s works on the subject. I’m passing along the copies to a friend of my son’s who collects them. I did keep a couple of things as Cold War primary sources tho…

  15. Hell, “remembering back” to the communist threat…I had to sign a loyalty oath for a faculty librarian job as recently as recently as 2003. But then, that was Colorado before the commies took over last election…

    And I do remember traveling in East Berlin a couple of years after the Wall came down when everyone was flush with access to all sorts of useful consumer goods…like 16 bit gaming systems and surplus cigarettes and liquor that US soldiers got for a steal from the commissary and sold at double price (A bottle of Jack Daniel’s and some WonderBread could get a person almost anything…).

    Was still in East Berlin when the German language version of “Beverly Hills 90210” premiered in summer of ’92. Now that’s good old American capitalist outreach!

  16. If any of you fabulous librarians are weeding materials like this I’d LOVE to take them off your hands! I’m a teacher in NYC and teach 12th grade students about the Cold War for 6 months. (BTW – students in 12th grade this year were born in 1992. Communism is 1. a mystery 2. an easy joke for them.) Books like this are really useful as historical sources at this point, rather than something someone should use to gather information about the world. I think a like to my website can be found at my name.

Comments are closed.