WITCH HUNT: The Revival of Heresy by Carey McWilliams

WITCH HUNT: The Revival of Heresy

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A veteran analyst of particular phases of dislocation and discrimination, McWilliams turns once again and possibly with even more eloquence to another contemporary demonstration of victimization and violence, and sounds a siren against the hysteria of anti-communism which is riding the country. This is a book about ""witches and heretics in modern guise"", about a regression to the sinister and satanic and delusional which has had its parallel in other centuries and at other times of stress. Opening with the Federal. Loyalty program which served as a cover for an attack on civil liberties, he shows the revival of discarded, discredited instruments- oaths and purges and terroristic tactics. In the sections which are of a more ideological nature, he examines the meaning of loyalty and the source of our obsessive concern with it today, the sociology of heresy- its psychology, semantics and methods. And in the sections which are factual, illustrative, he uses the case of the Hollywood Ten, the scientist Freistadt, the University of California's ouster of two professors, and particularly the University of Washington's disgraceful case against their six heretics and its resultant damage to academic freedom specifically, democratic values generally....There's some forceful, fervent writing here, backgrounded in legend and history as well as contemporary causes celebres, and his book is a plea for reason and a protest against the violation and forfeit of freedom.

ISBN: 0548389551
Publisher: Little, Brown