The extraordinary life of Jay Lovestone is one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century. A Lithuanian immigrant who came to the United States in 1897, Lovestone rose to leadership in the Communist Party of America, only to fall out with Moscow and join the anti-Communist establishment after the Second World War. He became one of the leading strategists of the Cold War, and was once described as "one of the five most important men in the hidden power structure of America."
Lovestone was obsessively secretive, and it is only with the opening of his papers at the Hoover Institution, the freeing of access to Comintern files in Moscow, and the release of his 5,700-page FBI file that biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ted Morgan has been able to construct a full account of the remarkable events of Jay Lovestone's life.
The life Morgan describes is full of drama and intrigue. He recounts Lovestone's career in the faction-riven world of American Communism until he was spirited out of Moscow in 1929 after Stalin publicly attacked him for doctrinal unorthodoxy. As Lovestone veered away from Moscow, he came to work for the American Federation of Labor, managing a separate union foreign policy as well as maintaining his own intelligence operations for the CIA, many under the command of the legendary counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Lovestone also associated with Louise Page Morris, a spy known as "the American Mata Hari," who helped him undermine Communist advances in the developing world and whose own significant espionage career is detailed here. Lovestone's influence, always exercised from behind the scenes, survived to the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union.
A Covert Life has all the elements of a classic spy thriller: surveillance operations and stings, love affairs and bungled acts of sabotage, many thoroughly illegal. It is written with the easy hand of a fine biographer (The Washington Post Book World called Ted Morgan "a master storyteller") and provides a history of the Cold War and a glimpse into the machinery of the CIA while also revealing many hitherto hidden details of the superpower confrontation that dominated postwar global politics.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Ted Morgan
Ted Morgan is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and the author of biographies of FDR, Churchill, and Maugham, the last of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America, A Shovel of Stars: The Making of the American West—1800 to the Present, and Wilderness at Dawn: The Settling of The North American Continent. He lives in New York City.
Praise for A Covert Life
A major contribution to the history of the Cold War and a terrific tale of intrigue, intellectual passion, and betrayal. Relying on extraordinary new documents from the files of the FBI, Morgan has brought one of the Cold War's most effective spies out of the shadows."
--Kai Bird, author of The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy, Brothers in Arms
A masterly tale about one of the master strategists of the Cold War. This is a truly important as well as engrossing contribution to the history of our times."
--James Chace, author of Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World
A joy to read . . . One by one, the dark places in America's Cold War are coming into the light. The work of that bizarre man Jay Lovestone is one of those important unknowns; Ted Morgan was all prepared and on the spot the day Lovestone's most private papers were unsealed. He has come up with an absorbing narrative that will change the way we think of the American labor movement and its undercover role in fighting Communism."
--Peter Grose, author of Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles
An outstanding achievement...Every student of the Cold War will need A Covert Life on a nearby shelf."
--John Earl Haynes, co-author of The Secret World of American Communism
This wonderful book bristles with revelations and breakthroughs . . . a compendium of open larceny and amorous escapades by some of the starchiest of our Cold War icons."
--Burton Hersh, author of The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA
A Covert Life is a story as full of energy as Jay Lovestone. Anecdotal, human, and sexy, it shines a brilliant light into the murk and deceits of the Cold War spy trade. For the intelligence connoisseur, not to be missed."
--David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers
In this fascinating study, Ted Morgan not only removes the veil hiding one of the Cold War's most mysterious figures, but also illuminates the secret links between the CIA and the American labor movement."
--Ronald Steel, author of Walter Lippmann and the American Century
From the Hardcover edition.