JOE McCARTHY AND McCARTHYISM: The Hate That Haunts America by Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht

JOE McCARTHY AND McCARTHYISM: The Hate That Haunts America

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Senator Joe McCarthy has been exposed before -- by Richard Rovere, more recently by Fred Cook, and there's even another juvenile by Butt Hirschfeld (Freedom in Jeopardy, 1969), but if Feuerlicht tells us nothing new, she weaves the morass of charges and refutations (including the arithmetic behind the famous list of 205 names) into a thorough, committed and involving story strong on both perspective and analysis. It's made abundantly clear that McCarthy was a relative latecomer to subversive hunting, and that respected, even liberal, politicians shared many of his assumptions about the communist threat. Ms. Feuerlicht also draws attention to the role played by the press in reporting many of McCarthy's statements as presumptive fact and, of course, the correspondingly deflating influence of television. It's regrettable that her narrative is marred by a tinge of superfluous sarcasm (""The investigation of America's overseas libraries began with a trip that was one of the most memorable in American history since Columbus sailed for the Indies and went the wrong way""), and the epilogue on the ""ism"" (which indicts both Agnew and Humphrey for having made ""unsupported accusations"") could be done without as it tends to expand the definition of McCarthyism to the point where the term becomes nearly meaningless. Neither of these objections, however, detract significantly from a satisfactorily conclusive investigation of the man and his milieu.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1972
Publisher: McGraw-Hill