Levine, Isaac Don (1892-1981)

An American journalist and writer who was the influential anti-Communist editor of Plain Talk magazine. Born in Mozyr, Russia, Levine immigrated to the United States in 1911. In 1917, he was back in Russia covering the Russian Revolution for The New York Herald Tribune. In the early 1920s, he covered the Russian Civil War for The Chicago Daily News. From the late 1920s through the 1930s, Levine was a columnist for Hearst newspapers in the United States. In the late 1930s, he began to befriend defectors from the Soviet and Communist cause, helping them to tell their stories and using them as sources of information. These defectors included Soviet spymaster Walter Krivitsky, for whom Levine ghost-wrote a series of articles in The Saturday Evening Post, as well as a book, In Stalin’s Secret Service; Jan Valtin, for whom he ghost-wrote Out of the Night (1941); Whittaker Chambers, whom Levine took to see Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle to inform on the Communist underground in Washington, D.C.; and others.

In 1946, Levine founded an anti-Communist magazine called Plain Talk, which he edited until 1950. He figured in the Alger Hiss case, having testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He said that he had learned about Chambers’s charges against Hiss from Chambers himself, and had tried unsuccessfully to bring them to the government’s attention since 1939. In the early 1950s, Levine took an active part in organizing the American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, which sought the overthrow of the Soviet regime; he also worked with Radio Free Europe in Munich, West Germany. Levine was the author of a number of books.