Let us begin with that most unusual of acknowledgments: that David Frum has written something interesting. In his superabundantly titled book How We Got Here: The ’70s: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life—For Better or For Worse, he revisits the case of Lillian Hellman, blacklisted Hollywood writer, Communist hanger-on, Trotsky persecutor, freelance apologist for the Stalin show trials, serial liar, etc. Specifically, he considers her famous remark to the House Un-American Activities Committee—“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions”—and the hearty congressional applause that followed. “Both remark and the applause were wholly fictitious,” Mr. Frum finds, “as were the stories of her heroics inside Nazi Germany that she described in her novel Julia. Julia was nonetheless filmed and nominated for Best Picture in 1978.”

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