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c Hollywood stars who were duped - including actor Ronald Reagan before he woke up and ultimately became the chief anti-communist who brought down the Soviet empire.

c As the Soviets aimed for world domination, they targeted American liberals, especially academics and the religious left.

Liberals still defend the communists who trashed Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and the anti-communists who tried to alert them. A partial list of dupes (and dupers) exposed in this book includes Arthur Miller, the playwright best known for “The Crucible,” the anti-McCarthy drama; Benjamin Spock, baby-doctor hero of the ‘60s counterculture; Upton Sinclair, muckraker; H.G. Wells, English author; John Dewey, father of modern education; George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics; Lillian Hellman, hard-boiled (and hateful) Stalinist playwright; Howard Zinn, Communist Party member and “historian” whose distortions are used in schools all across America; Walter Cronkite, “most trusted man in America”; and Helen Thomas, disgraced former “dean” of the White House press corps.

Mr. Kengor sheds fascinating new light on the extent to which the Kremlin was horrified by Reagan’s missile-defense program and how Moscow exerted influence on liberals worldwide to stick the plan with the frivolous moniker “Star Wars”- as well as the hope this move by the Gipper gave to victims in communist prisons.

The radical left has exerted tremendous influence on the course of events over the past 100 years, first in advancing the Soviet cause, today working hand in hand with Islamist terrorists. Call them what you will. They just want to bring America to its knees.

But, as Mr. Kengor points out, “the extreme left can never succeed in America, even incrementally, without non-extremists helping to spread and implement its far left goals.”

For example, the author shows that Roosevelt realized in his final days (when it was too late) that he had been ill-used by Josef Stalin at Tehran and Yalta. But Stalin could not have succeeded if FDR had not trusted people around him who were communists - not just Alger Hiss, but also the president’s most trusted aide, Harry Hopkins - defined by top Soviet officials in private communications as an agent of “major significance” and “the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States.”

In terms of putting the last 100 years in perspective, “Dupes” may be one of the most significant literary offerings of our time. In a mere 497 pages, the author has compressed information that would have been exposed through the decades in volumes of testimony if only Congress had done its job of investigating internal subversion. Americans who read this book might urge the incoming (more conservative) Congress to revive the House Committee on Internal Security. If we are going to hell in a handbasket, we can change course.

Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.