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Reds In America

February 15, 1987

With the imminent airing of "Amerika" so much in the news, I thought it timely to once again toot the horn of that most underrated of American authors, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

In 1919, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, Burroughs wrote a story called "Under the Red Flag" about the United States under Soviet occupation. Although he was a best-selling author at that time, Burroughs was unable to find a publisher for it.

In 1925, Argosy All-Story Weekly published "The Moon Men," which was an altered version of "Under the Red Flag." Burroughs had simply changed the occupiers from Soviets to Lunarians, who call themselves "Kalkars." The story became the middle part of the "Moon Maid Trilogy," considered by many to be Burroughs' finest effort in the field of science fiction.

The story "Under the Red Flag/The Moon Men" is one of Burroughs' most somber tales, which is perhaps the reason it would not sell in 1919, most of his work being very upbeat. In the story Americans are denied their rights to worship as they wish and cultural icons such as the American flag are proscribed. The story is as timely now as the day it was written.

DAVID A. LATHRAP

San Diego

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