Madison Avenue's Soviet Mole

[The Millionaire Was a Soviet Mole: The Twisted Life of David Karr by Harvey Klehr; Encounter Books, 2019; 288 pp., $25.99]

A distinguished professor of history at Emory University, Harvey Klehr has in a number of books exposed the workings of foreign communists and their American counterparts and fellow travelers in academia, government, the media, and the military. Among his best-known works are Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (1999) and Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (2009). Both of these, co-authored with John Earl Haynes, provide irrefutable evidence that the United States faced a serious Communist problem from the New Deal era onward, despite continuing denials by left-wing historians that any significant infiltration happened.

In his latest book, Klehr attempts to wrap up a long preoccupation with the enigmatic spy David Karr, an American who collaborated with the Soviet Union for a number of years until his death in 1979. Klehr has assembled an impressive array of facts about his subject, despite the refusal of the American and Russian governments to declassify many potentially important documents. His prose is clear and declarative, a model of straightforward historical writing.

Born in Brooklyn in 1918 as David Katz, Karr changed his name as a young man to conceal his Jewish parentage. He would remain a chameleon for the rest of his days. He drifted through high school and...

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