STRANGER COME HOME by William L. Shirer


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Factual transcripts and autobiographical records of American citizens accused by Congressional investigatory committees have -- for many readers -- scooped the market, explored the interest, broadened the understanding of the conflicting and continuous stream of news stories and commentary. Now comes a prominent foreign correspondent who unashamedly cloaks the facts with a thin veneer of fiction and tells the story of what happens to a newscaster transferred from the European to the American scene, and caught in the dark web of charges and countercharges, smear techniques and prosecution. While the already convinced reader will follow with sympathy and despair the inevitable cycle, one wonders whether those in the camp of the investigators and acceptant of their procedures will bother to read a novel which is frankly a polemic. The period is largely pre-Korea; the story builds up to the reign of fear that held the radio and TV world in thrall with the publication of Red Channels (called Red Airwaves here); the characters are types, built on almost recognizable figures,- the commentator, the journalist, the diplomat, etc.; the story is told in the form of the diary of the newscaster whose actual record is so clear that he cannot conceive of himself as involved until misinterpreation, misrepresentation and the Big Lie technique distorts the whole picture, and ends with a verdict of guilty. Let's hope that some who refuse to recognize what is happening, as reported in the daily press, will find it more convincing when recorded in human terms in a novel.
Pub Date: May 27th, 1954
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1945


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