Isaac Don Levine

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Isaac Don Levine (January 19, 1892 – February 15, 1981) was a 20th-Century Russian-born American journalist and anticommunist writer, involved with Soviet ex-spies Walter Krivitsky and Whittaker Chambers .[1][2]


Levine was born in Mazyr (then "Mozyr"), Belarus, into a Zionist family. He came to the United States in 1911. He finished high school in Missouri.[1]


Levine found work with The Kansas City Star and later The New York Tribune, for which he covered the revolution of 1917. He would return to Russia in the early 1920s to cover the Civil War for The Chicago Daily News.[1]

He was in Boston to cover the Sacco and Vanzetti trials during which he formed the Citizens National Committee for Sacco and Vanzetti: "his experience there was one of the factors that eventually turned him against the Party and toward a career exposing the KGB's espionage activities in America and Europe."[3]

He was a columnist through the late 1920s and 1930s for the Hearst papers.[1]

In the spring of 1939, Levine collaborated with the Soviet intelligence agency defector, Walter Krivitsky, for a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post, exposing the horrors of Stalin's regime. In November of the same year, the series was collected into a book, In Stalin's Secret Service. (Levine's role in the writing was not revealed at the time.) In the meantime, Levine arranged a meeting in September 1939 between American Communist Party defector Whittaker Chambers and President Franklin Roosevelt's security chief, Adolf Berle, at which Chambers revealed, with Levine present, a massive spying operation reaching even into the White House that involved, among others, Alger Hiss in the State Department and, according to Levine, Harry Dexter White, the author of the Morganthau Plan, in the Treasury Department.[1][4]

From 1946 to 1950, Levine edited the anticommunist magazine Plain Talk.

On December 9, 1948, Levine provided testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee in the Hiss case.[5]

He declined to join The Freeman magazine, opting for a stint with Radio Free Europe in West Germany instead. There, he co-founded the American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, based in Munich.[1]

Personal life and death[edit]

Levine was married twice; his second wife was Ruth. From his first marriage, he had one son, Robert Don Levine (November 15, 1924 – July 21, 2013).[1][6][7]

Levine died, age 89, in his home in Venice, Florida.[1]


He appeared as himself, as one of the witnesses to the John Reed era, in the movie Reds (1981).[8]

Levine made a brief appearance in Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007) as a friend of Albert Einstein with whom he had, however, eventually fallen out over their political differences.


Levine wrote the screenplay for the biographical movie Jack London (1943).

  • Russian Revolution (1917)
  • Botchkareva, Maria. Yashka: My Life as Peasant, Exile, and Soldier. As set down by Isaac Don Levine (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1919)
  • The Kaiser's Letters to the Tsar (1920) Editor
  • Man Lenin (1924)
  • Stalin (1931)
  • Stalin's Great Secret (1956) Coward-McCann, NY NY USA
  • The Mind of an Assassin (1960) Signet book, New York
  • I Rediscover Russia (1964)
  • Intervention (1969)
  • Eyewitness to History (1973)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Isaac Don Levine, 89, Foe of Soviet". New York Times. February 17, 1981. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Writer Isaac Levine, 89, Specialist on Soviet Union". The Washington Post. February 17, 1981.
  3. ^ Powers, Richard Gid (1998). Not Without Honor: The History of American Anticommunism. Yale University Press. p. 99.
  4. ^ Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. Random House. pp. 457, 459, 460, 463, 46, 465, 467, 470, 735fn, 739. ISBN 0-89526-571-0.
  5. ^ Hearings Regarding Communist Espionage in the United States Government – Part Two (PDF). US GPO. December 1948. pp. 1380-1381 (Robert E. Stripling), 1381-1385 (William Wheeler), 1385-1386 (Keith B. Lewis), 1386-1391 (Sumner Welles), 1391-1399 (John Peurifoy), 1399-1429 (Isaac Don Levine), 1429-1449 (Julian Wadleigh), 1449-1451 (Courtney E. Owens), 1451-1467 (Nathan L. Levine), 1467-1474 (Marion Bachrach). Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Robert D. Levine". Washington Post. September 6, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Robert D. Levine, public affairs specialist, dies at 88". Washington Post. August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Isaac Don Levine on IMDb