COMMUNISTS: Life of an Angel

Frederick Vanderbilt Field was news the day he was born, Apr. 15, 1905. He was a great-great grandson of Railroad Builder Cornelius Vanderbilt, marked by destiny and carefully drawn wills to be a man of wealth and solid respectability. But the tough, devoutly Republican old commodore was no model for Frederick Vanderbilt Field. Before his generation had begun to grow grey, Freddie Field had radically rewritten the family script.

At Harvard, young Field wavered elegantly between having a social purpose and having a good time. He edited the Crimson, but in the end devoted himself largely to having a good...

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