School of Darkness
Publisher: Angelico Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2017
Bella Dodd ranks with Whittaker Chambers as a leading converted communist. Her testimony before investigating committees revealed the extent to which communist infiltration had taken place in America, particularly among teachers in schools and colleges. This record of her life describes how she came to be a member of the Communist Party, the reasons for her gradual disillusionment and final break with the party, and her eventual return to the Catholic Church into which she was born.
Her conversion to Communism was a slow usurpation of the mind by an appeal to love of humanity, a vision of a better society, and wider social justice. In time she became a member of the Party’s National Committee, and was intensely active in combating the Rapp-Coudert investigation of communist teachers, in supporting Loyalist Spain, and in the “united democratic front” maintained during World War II. But she was gradually repelled by the dictatorial methods of the Party and the constant struggle for power. Her divorce from her husband, and her own ill health speeded her estrangement from Party leaders and resulted in her expulsion from the Party in 1949.
Dodd’s re-entrance into the Catholic Church—which as a communist she had so bitterly attacked—was a natural result of her new state of mind. In the early 1950s, she provided detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church, reporting that “in the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within, [and that] right now they are in the highest places in the Church.” From such positions they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She said further that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognize the Catholic Church.”
Bella Dodd’s story is a human document of immense importance to Americans today. Here are the inner workings of the Communist Party in the United States in the early to mid-20th century as seen from the secret counsels and strategy meetings of the National Committee, to which she belonged for a crucial span of years. The climax of the book is a snowy Christmas Eve when Bella finds the reaffirmation of her faith, and is able to say, “I have learned from bitter experience that you cannot serve man unless you first serve God in sincerity and truth.” Not being able to secure her baptismal certificate from Italy after inquiry, she was baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.
This was a painful book to read but a very important book to read. It's a look into a dark time in history that clearly reflects the threat to our children yet today. In it Dodd details her early seduction into communism starting with a "free thinker" college teacher. (The indoctrination starts in kindergarten today.) She describes what she calls a wasted 30 years of her life immersed in communist teachers' union affairs and politics, and her eventual realization that the attraction of communism as a political philosophy in support of the "little guy" was all a lie - a discovery which led to her exclusion from and persecution by the Communist Party. After being driven to her knees, she finally came to the realization, with the aid of Bp. Sheen, that the brotherhood and charity she had always hoped and worked for, which was promised by communism, can only come through Christ and his Church.
Someone once said that history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes. Dodd's work from 1954 more than rhymes; it clearly shows the same evil forces and actors intent on the destruction of our country, lives and souls today. A must read for those who want to understand and defend against that same evil today.
Great book. Must read for History and context to understand the state of the Church today
An interesting read that helps to understand the state of the country more clearly and also the importance of the Fatima message.
Bella Dodd’s account of her childhood in New York, her involvement with the communist party and her later conversion is a fascinating story that shows the deliberate communist tactics to disrupt American culture, values, and most especially, religious faith. Besides an important book to read to understand communist infiltration, it is an interesting book in its own right as a story of faith and redemption.