Defender Of The Hollywood 10

BARTLEY CRUM LIVED IN EXTRAORDINARY times, and as his daughter's memoir makes clear, he was one of the people who made them extraordinary. In Anything Your Little Heart Desires (416 pages. Simon & Schuster. $27.50), Patricia Bosworth traces her father's career as it blazed through just about every important cause and conflict from the '30s to the '50s--ending in a collapse so sad and horrifying she still doesn't fully comprehend it.

As a young lawyer in San Francisco, Crum amassed friends ranging from press tycoon William Randolph Hearst to Harry Bridges, the union activist long reviled as a communist. A passionate liberal, he worked frenetically for Republican Wendell Willkie, then accepted from President Truman a plum postwar assignment on the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Into Palestine. His outspokenness on the plight of Holocaust survivors was instrumental in getting them admitted to Palestine. Later he defended the Hollywood 10 and was himself the subject of constant FBI surveillance. Bosworth grew up passing salted almonds to such party guests as Paul Robeson, Adlai Stevenson, Joan Bennett, Lily Pons and I. F. Stone.

But inside, Crum was apparently lost and desperate. Distant from his family, he became addicted to barbiturates and alcohol; in 1959 he killed himself. Alas, Bosworth's flat prose permits neither writer nor reader to delve very deeply into Crum's complexity. In the end, he remains as frustratingly unreachable on the page as he must have been in her life.