Nightmare in red: the McCarthy era in perspective by Richard M. Fried

By Richard M. Fried

In keeping with newspaper headlines and tv pundits, the chilly struggle ended many months in the past; the age of huge war of words is over. yet 40 years in the past, american citizens have been experiencing the beginnings of one other era--of the fevered anti-communism that got here to be often called McCarthyism. in this interval, the Cincinnati Reds felt forced to rename themselves in short the "Redlegs" to prevent confusion with the opposite reds, and one citizen in Indiana campaigned to have The Adventures of Robin Hood faraway from library cabinets as the story's subversive message inspired robbing from the wealthy and giving to the terrible. those advancements grew out of a far-reaching anxiousness over communism that characterised the McCarthy period. Richard Fried's Nightmare in purple deals a riveting and entire account of this significant time. He lines the second one purple Scare's antecedents again to the Thirties, and provides an attractive narrative in regards to the many various those who grew to become interested by the drama of the anti-communist fervor, from the hot Deal period and international conflict II, throughout the early years of the chilly struggle, to the height of McCarthyism, and past McCarthy's censure to the decline of the home Committee on Un-American actions within the Sixties. alongside the way in which, we meet the ordinary figures of the period--Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower, the younger Richard Nixon, and, in fact, the Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. yet extra importantly, Fried unearths the wholesale impression of McCarthyism at the lives of millions of standard humans, from lecturers and attorneys to school scholars, manufacturing facility staff, and janitors. including assurance of such recognized incidents because the ordeal of the Hollywood Ten (which resulted in the leisure world's infamous blacklist) and the Alger Hiss case, Fried additionally portrays a wealth of little-known yet telling episodes related to sufferers and victimizers of anti-communist politics on the nation and native degrees. supplying the main whole historical past of the increase and fall of the phenomenon referred to as McCarthyism, Nightmare in purple indicates that it concerned excess of simply Joe McCarthy.

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Nightmare in red: the McCarthy era in perspective

In response to newspaper headlines and tv pundits, the chilly conflict ended many months in the past; the age of huge disagreement is over. yet 40 years in the past, americans have been experiencing the beginnings of one other era--of the fevered anti-communism that got here to be referred to as McCarthyism. in this interval, the Cincinnati Reds felt forced to rename themselves in brief the "Redlegs" to prevent confusion with the opposite reds, and one citizen in Indiana campaigned to have The Adventures of Robin Hood faraway from library cabinets as the story's subversive message inspired robbing from the wealthy and giving to the bad.

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Social scientists sermonized too. Even as Americans enjoyed the bounty produced by the structured, bureaucratic corporate society in which they worked, lived, and consumed, they were its captives—or so they were told. Individual autonomy had become a casualty of the organization, which allegedly drained people’s souls and sapped their independence even as it filled their bank accounts. ‘Organization men” chose security in a corporate womb over entrepreneurial risk, preferred a slot in Personnel (“working with people”) to Sales, exalted “teamwork” and “togetherness,” and disparaged lone-wolf individualism as antisocial.

That grim decade strongly affected their attitudes and behavior. Some workers who remembered the hard times stuck with unloved jobs because they cherished the security of seniority. Memory prompted Depression survivors to scrimp, to test their ability to do without long after hardship had vanished. They harassed their children to eat every last bite of vegetables. Conversely, others escaped memories of deprivation by piling up material goods or by smothering their children in luxuries. For many the Depression signaled the final collapse of capitalism that Marx had predicted.

After Hiss’s conviction in January 1950, he and his defenders suggested he had been framed. Perhaps the FBI, working backwards, built a typewriter to match the quirks of typography in the pumpkin papers (perhaps fabricating those too), then planted the machine for Hiss to discover. However, far from carrying on a byzantine plot to create evidence, Hoover was outraged when Hiss’s team beat his men to the Woodstock in 1949. The problem with the theories used to buttress Hiss’s innocence is that they require greater credulity and imagination than that which underlay the prosecution’s case.

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