Low Price Guarantee
We Take School POs
"I Was a Communist for the Fbi": The Unhappy Life and Times of Matt Cvetic
Contributor(s): Leab, Daniel J. (Author)

View larger image

ISBN: 0271028122     ISBN-13: 9780271028125
Publisher: Penn State University Press
OUR PRICE: $27.25  

Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: November 2000
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Political Science | Political Ideologies - Communism, Post-communism & Socialism
- History | United States - 20th Century
- Biography & Autobiography | Political
Dewey: B
Physical Information: 0.44" H x 5.5" W x 8.5" L (0.55 lbs) 184 pages
- Chronological Period - 20th Century
- Chronological Period - 1950-1999
- Cultural Region - Mid-Atlantic
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:

Who is Matt Cvetic? Hero? Scoundrel? Mole? The man who loosely provided the inspiration for the B-Grade cult movie I Was a Communist for the FBI had a life that was marred by alcoholism, damaged expectations, and greed.

Cvetic, at the request of the FBI, joined a Pittsburgh branch of the CPUSA in 1943. He became one of many plants in the Party during that decade and gained the nickname Pennsylvania's most significant mole. However, because of his erratic behavior, the FBI fired him in 1950, at which time he surfaced and suddenly became a celebrity through his testimony before the HUAC hearing. Journalist Richard Rovere described Cvetic as a kept witness, a term that fits those who made a business of being witnesses, thereby befouling due process.

Cvetic was the subject of a multipart series in the Saturday Evening Post. The articles bordered on fiction, but they gave Cvetic the national exposure he needed to secure a screen deal. Warner Brothers bought the story, made the movie, and enhanced Cvetic's celebrity as pop icon. In the mid-1950s, Cvetic was discredited as a witness by the courts. His career ended and he found a new niche on the Radical Right, yet he died in 1962 after years of fighting to uphold his image with the media. Today Cvetic's image is dimly remembered as he continues to fight the Red Menace on late-night television.

Leab juxtaposes Cvetic's real life with his reel life. He chronicles his fall from grace, yet admits that Cvetic's life offers fascinating and useful insights into the creation, merchandising, and distribution of a reckless professional witness. Leab also writes about Cvetic's life prior to his involvement with the FBI, his glory days, and shows that there is much to be learned from the story of an anti-Communist icon.

Contributor Bio(s): Leab, Daniel J.: - Daniel Leab is Professor of History at Seton Hall University. His previous books include The Labor History Reader (1987), George Orwell: An Exhibition at the Grolier Club (1996) and, with Philip Mason, Labor History Archives in the United States: A Guide for Researching and Teaching (1992).
Customer ReviewsSubmit your own review
To tell a friend about this book, you must Sign In First!