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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginnings of political bashing
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...
Published on 5 Dec. 1998

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Apallingly limited perceptions
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...
Published on 23 July 1998


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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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive history of McCarthyism's Lesser-Known Victims, 18 May 1998
By A Customer
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
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. Truman who hypocritically tried to paint himself as standing up to McCarthy -- after McCarthy had been discredited by the Army-McCarthy hearings and had alcoholically drowned himself into a none too early grave.]
The first person to use the appeal process, established by executive order of Eisenhower, was Max Schachtman, founder of the Independen! t Socialist League, a resolutely anti-Soviet Trotskyist org! anization. His attorney was Joe Rau, then a young man, who later became a well known Civil Liberties and Labor attorney.
It is not true that, as the author says the FBI "correctly targeted" the people they persecuted.Their behavior was clearly a violation of the First Amendment. The FBI undertook this harassment in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. And HUAC and the McCarthy committee -- and many State legislative committees "investigated" a constructed phenomenon which they did not have the power to legislate. The witch hunters were the UnAmerican politicals.
I would agree that it should have been called [J.Edgar] Hooverism rather than McCarthyism. Hunting radicals was so much safer and cheaper that gathering evidence against organized crime! Radicals and Pacifists and Communists did not shoot back. And they had very little money - in fact, a number of these organizations were kept afloat by FBI funds. Much if not most of the ! material in those FBI files is gossip.
She is right that the destructive effects of that period are still being felt, often in subtle ways. As example, one of America's worst presidents, Richard Nixon, rose to political prominence by exploiting anti-Communist hysteria in every one of his political campaigns, first against Jerry Voorhees for the House, and then against Helen Gahagan Douglas for the Senate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dissects "paradox" of security interests and civil liberties, 18 Jun. 1998
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 July 2014
This review is from: Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Princeton Paperbacks) (Paperback)
a must for any student or academic regarding the subject, incredibly detailed

from a student at the Uni of York
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that loves Reds, but hates the CPUSA & USSR?, 26 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
This review is written from the viewpoint of a working class Marxist.
From our point of view, the McCarthyite Red Scare was a hysteria instigated by the US ruling class. The goal was to neutralize the working class by smashing the great progressive unions and criminalizing the party of the working class--the Communist Party USA.
By contrast, the factors cited by Schrecker as causing the witch hunt are shifting and various. They include: the bureaucratic empire building of J. Edgar Hoover; Southern and Republican politicians pressuring various Presidents; Truman's need to scare the country in order to fund the Marshal Plan; the Cold War, understood as an unfortunately exaggerated response to a real but limited threat from the Soviet Union; a centuries-old American cultural trait of persecuting unpopular groups; and ultimately the Party itself, she declares, was in some sense responsible for or facilitated or shaped its own persecution. But all these non-class factors are quite beside the point.
The anti-Communist network the author describes was not the cause but merely the instrument of the repression. It was not obscure rightists but mainstream establishment figures like Clark Clifford and groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that urged Truman to launch the post-War offensive against American Communists. In his 1971 book "The Ultras in the USA," Soviet author V. Nikitin recounts how Senator Joe McCarthy was backed from the start by major industrialists, McCormick of the Chicago "Tribune" and the du Ponts.
Schrecker's history describes how courageous American Communists were first and foremost in fighting aginst fascism and racism and fighting for unions and the working class. She herself states that the activists WHO KNEW THEM BEST were devoted to the CP and admired the USSR. Both of which she hates. And this contradiction doesn't faze her. At times it rises to a kind of liberal anti-Communist schizophrenia. For example, she debunks at length the dirty tricks and lies of the thuggish FBI. Specifically she describes their forging and altering documents and targeting innocents as spies. Incredibly, she simultaneously gives credence to the Bureau's 1995-1996 PR effort, the so-called Venona Cables, which the Bureau claims are intercepted (rewritten?) KGB cables that conveniently prove all the Bureau's past targets were spies.
Despite twenty years in the archives researching the hard fought struggles of American Communists, the author has apparently never questioned the bourgeois American old time religion of believing the Communist worker's state was Hell and its leader, Stalin, the Devil.
For a demolition of the pervasive fascist Big Lie of Soviet death camps and genocide please read historian Michael Parenti's 1997 book "Blackshirts and Reds."
The real reason that working class Communists or those who support the workers also supported the USSR was because the working class was in power there. And the reason US academic historians hate the USSR is not because of any imagined political violence but because the class they serve, the capitalist, was kicked out of power there.
Finally, despite the author's formidable research and frequent human sympathy, the claim to a new, impartial view amounts to false advertising. The sources for her viewpoint are neither new nor unconventional. Instead, they are the same old standard professional anti-Communist writers: Theodore Draper and his successor in the firm, Harvey Klehr, for the CPUSA and, for the the Soviet Union, who else but Robert (Bolshevik Massacre) Conquest. Even other academic historians have complained for years about the bias of these pros.
In a new history about the Communist Party and its enemies, is it fair to give the reader only one side--that of its enemies? Is that a new balance?
Schrecker gives us Robert Conquest's Reaganite view of the Russian Revolution--but never John Reed's as in "Ten Days That Shook the World."
To balance Draper's Red-loathing account, she might have even a single reference to then Party chairman William Z. Foster's multi-volume history of the American Party--or his great book, "Pages From a Worker's Life," with its first hand account of Communists organizing Unemployed Councils nationally and forcing the ruling class to concede relief in desperate times--also unmentioned in this 352 page book.
If Marxist historians had not been disappeared from this book, the readers might have might have been given a chance to consider these words of distinquished historian Dr. Herbert Aptheker, then a member of the CP, who wrote in his 1954 essay "McCarthy and the Liberals," during the witch hunt's darkest hours:
"Accepting McCarthy's version of Communism and socialism . . . is to accept the heart of McCarthyism and to make effective refutation of it impossible."
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3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a condemnation of the U.S. and a support for communism, 20 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
Schrecker is a left-wing liberal flower child holdover from the 1960's. She neglects to realize that Communism was an aggressive threat both to the U.S. and freedom, democracy, and yes, to life itself during the Cold War. While her research is extensive, she distorts her facts in such a way that makes her conclusions perverse.
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Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Princeton Paperbacks)
Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Princeton Paperbacks) by Ellen Schrecker (Paperback - 1 Aug. 1999)
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