SENATOR JOE MCCARTHY by Richard Rovere

SENATOR JOE MCCARTHY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

McCarthy adherents will bitterly resent this extensive exploration of the McCarthy myth in all its implications of demagoguery at its worst. McCarthy critics, who held no brief for his procedures, his sensationalism, his Big Lie techniques or the man himself, will feel wholly justified by the evidence Richard Rovere has marshalled. If this is objective biography, as the publishers claim, one wonders what a biased biography might say. Fortunately for his claim to objectivity, Mr. Rovere need only let the facts speak for themselves. Even the goal claimed by Senator McCarthy -- to uncover the Communist menace and arouse the public to its danger- is here shown as really secondary to his desire for the limelight. To a minor extent this text is an examination of the paltry facts of his life; to a major extent it is a powerful J'accuse -- an expose of the facts behind the bombast, the invective,the ruthless methods that held the country in thrall. Absorbingly interesting for all of us who sensed the danger, who recognized the threat to democracy, who rejoiced when McCarthy's spectacular fall made him virtually a nonentity in a matter of months after he had seemed to hold the whiphandle.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1959
ISBN: 0520204727
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace