The Web of Realism

"The Web of Realism," Commentary, June 1954.  (A review of The Web of Subversion: Underground Networks in the United States Government by James Burnham.)


In The Web of Subversion, Mr. Burnham presents a terse and lucid summary of what has been discovered by various investigating committees about Communist espionage networks in the United States government. Since he knows his subject thoroughly and has a very orderly mind, his book is a useful one; those who wish to get a clear picture of the extent of Communist infiltration of the various government agencies, of the kinds of people these infiltrees are, of the kind of evidence that has been adduced against them, will find The Web of Subversion very much to their purpose. None of the material is new, but some items (the case of Arthur Adams, for example) are not so well known as they should be, while others make a fresh impression when collated so carefully. Random bits of information then fall into place, giving off shocks of illumination. Thus, when Mr. Burnham traces the careers in government service of the members of the original Communist cell in the Natonal Research Project, a great deal of what had seemed at the time like pointless Senatorial inquisitiveness about promotions, recommendations, etc., finds its justification.

Commentary Magazine