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Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America [Hardcover]

Ellen Schrecker , Schrecker
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £22.90
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Book Description

1 May 1998
The McCarthy Era was a bad time for freedom in America. Encompassing far more than the brief career of Senator Joseph McCarthy, it was the most widespread episode of political repression in the history of the United States. In the name of national security, most Americans - liberal and conservative alike - supported the anticommunist crusade that ruined so many careers, marriages, even lives. However, despite the unfairness of their methods, the nation's most powerful anti-Communists in the FBI, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and elsewhere were generally accurate in their accusations. Most of the men and women who were charged in the McCarthy-era purges had been involved with the American Communist party. Now, in Many Are the Crimes, Ellen Schrecker gives us the first complete post-Cold War account of McCarthyism. Drawing on newly released FBI files, private papers, and interviews, Schrecker explains why McCarthyism happened and how it worked. She also assesses its long-term impact. From the dumbing-down of Hollywood and the decline of the labor movement to the war in Vietnam and the post-Watergate sleaziness of contemporary politics, McCarthyism has cast a heavy shadow over America's political and cultural life.

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Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America + McCarthyism, The Great American Red Scare: A Documentary History + The Age of McCarthyism (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown Adult Books; 1 edition (1 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316774707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316774703
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,159,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"If the national memory is ever to reach closure on this tragic episode, Schrecker's analysis is a significant and compelling contribution."--William J. Preston, Jr., Los Angeles Times

"[Schrecker's] thoughtful and earnest new study, Many Are the Crimes, offers the most comprehensive view yet of the process that turned a legal, political, economic, and cultural crusade into `the home front of the Cold War.'"--Henry Mayer, San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

"A valuable contribution for anyone who would understand the dynamics of the domestic cold war. [Schrecker] has provided an alternative framework that does much to put McCarthyism in America in perspective."--Victor Navasky, The Nation

"Nothing could be more welcome to students and scholars of United States history than the appearance in paperback of Ellen Schrecker's history of the anti-Communist mania which disgraced America in the 1940's and 50's. . . .Schrecker's book is distinguished from its forerunners by its comprehensive scholarship (soundly based in archival research), lucid exposition and calm intelligence."--Hugh Brogan, Time Literary Supplement

"The book's great value is that it brings together recent work on McCarthyism and wonderfully illuminates the relationships between the component parts of that protean culture, and its own extensive original research enhances its authority. It is a true work of scholarship. The depth of Ellen Schreckert's research, her careful analysis and her elegant prose command respect."--M.J. Heale, American Studies --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"It's all here, carefully researched, well written, and with a detached view of both the pursuers and the pursued. Excellent."--John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard University

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WHEN STEVE NELSON became a Communist in 1923, he had just arrived in Philadelphia from his Croatian homeland. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginnings of political bashing 5 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book because I wanted to know more about Sen. Joe McCarthy and how he could run rampant for so long. I was initially disappointed; however, the more I read the more I realized how Schrecker has gone far beyond the hearings. Her book illustrates the art of 'baiting'; initially it was "Red" baiting, where the mere mention of "Communist" was enough to ruin a career or permantently taint a societal segment with absolutely no legal or practical recourse. The expansion of this "baiting" technique of advancing personal, financial or political ambitions is obvious today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Many studies of the McCarthy period have focused on the "Big Names" such as the Hollywood Ten or Alger Hiss. Ellen Schrecker gives a sense of the broad swath cut by McCarthyism as it affected more ordinary people, who seldom made the headlines. Schrecker is the acknowledged authority on the period, particularly in regards to academe. Her new book presents new archival materials that have recently become available that shed new light on the era.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Apallingly limited perceptions 23 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
In her book, and in the discussion with Amazon.com Ellen Schrecker makes several grossly inaccurate statements. The first, in her interview, is that there was virtually nothing in the literature on the forces which brought "McCarthyism" to such power. Well, that is simply not true. She has been reading the wrong literature! I suggest that she read the radical literature for starters, and mainstream moderately liberal rags such as Dissent.
However, I will deal primarily with one of the most egregious of her errors, which leads to major errors elsewhere in the book. It IS NOT TRUE that "most" of those affected by the political witch-hunts of the 50s and 60s were connected to the Communist Party of the United States. In fact, most of those affected belonged to small, marginal organizations such as the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation and the War Resisters League. Some belonged to resolutely Anti-Soviet organizations, such as the Inde! pendent Socialist League. Some belonged to organizations which were founded before WW II by European emigres fleeing Hitler. These organizations became primarily social circles. In any event, when they were listed on the State Dept list of "UnAmerican" organizations they were not advised they were so listed. They often discovered this when members were denied passports because of their -- entirely legal and openly acknowledged -- membership in one of these NON Communist organizations. Nor, until Eisenhower became President, was there any appeal process. [The infamous list had been created by Executive order of Harry S.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Are civil liberties and due process important considerations when viewing McCarthyism in the context of the Cold War? According to Thomas C. Reeves, in his recent review of Many Are the Crimes, the answer is no: "Solid research and good writing are not enough ... . It is simply unacceptable to continue to cling to the absurd illusion of heroic Reds as the champions of the highest ideals of humanity." Clearly confusing the book he wanted her to write, so he could condemn it too, with the one she did, Reeves berates Schrecker "for she is a woman of the far left." But the "far left" turf Schrecker defends with her "strident partisanship," is not, as Reeves would have us believe, some scorched-earth, totalitarian clam-back, but a land where the Ku Klux Klan has a right to march, anti-abortion protestors have a right to protest, vigilante bombers get due process of law and a jury trial, and a reviewer has the protected right to beat his own drum. It is no small matter of concern, nor surprise, then, that Reeves does not mention the stunning centerpiece of this book, Chapter 9 "How Red is a Valley" about Clinton Jencks and the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers ("Mine-Mill"). How long it took Schrecker to find an individual through which association with the American Communist Party, the anti-Communist establishment, informal local networks, film colony, union activities, perjured testimony, and issues of due process intersected is hard to say. What is clear, and must be said, is the depth of Schrecker's research in telling the story of a man who fought for ten years in an utterly bizarre (but by no means unique) series of legal proceedings to prove himself innocent.
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