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A Great Cause

by John J. Miller

Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty, by Lee Edwards (ISI, 400 pp., $29.95)

As a young American in Paris in 1956, Lee Edwards was a cliché: “I grew a Vandyke, smoked Gauloises, drank Algerian red, read Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller, and . . . paid little attention to politics.” He hoped to write “the Great American Novel.”

History had a different plan. Several hundred miles away, on October 23, Hungarian students revolted against their Soviet oppressors. “I was ecstatic,” recalls Edwards. “My dormant anti-Communism came alive.” As he “put aside Baudelaire and Colette,” however, the Soviets picked up their weapons and struck back, slaughtering more than 2,000 Hungarians and forcing more to flee. Enraged by the U.S. government’s inaction, Edwards took an oath: “I resolved that for the rest of my life, wherever I was, whatever I was, I would help those who resisted Communism however I could.”

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