EARL BROWDER WAS secretary-general of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) from 1930 to 1944 and president of the communist political association (1944–45) that briefly replaced the party on the political scene. Eventually condemned by Josef Stalin and other communist leaders of the Iron Curtain countries as a social democrat, Browder led the CPUSA to its greatest size and, allegedly, directed a ring of spies for the Russian secret police and military intelligence.

Browder, the eighth son of a schoolteacher, was born in Wichita, Kansas. His childhood was plagued by his large family's poverty and ill health. Browder's father was disabled and debts forced the 10 children of the family to leave elementary school. Earl worked as a cash boy for the ...

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