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Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America

by

Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this landmark work, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ted Morgan examines the McCarthyite strain in American politics, from its origins in the period that followed the Bolshevik Revolution to the present. Morgan argues that Senator Joseph McCarthy did not emerge in a vacuum—he was, rather, the most prominent in a long line of men who exploited the issue of Communism for political advantage.

In 1918, America invaded Russia in an attempt at regime change. Meanwhile, on the home front, the first of many congressional investigations of Communism was conducted. Anarchist bombs exploded from coast to coast, leading to the political repression of the Red Scare.

Soviet subversion and espionage in the United States began in 1920, under the cover of a trade mission. Franklin Delano Roosevelt granted the Soviets diplomatic recognition in 1933, which gave them an opportunity to expand their spy networks by using their embassy and consulates as espionage hubs. Simultaneously, the American Communist Party provided a recruitment pool for homegrown spies. Martin Dies, Jr., the first congressman to make his name as a Red hunter, developed solid information on Communist subversion through his Un-American Activities Committee. However, its hearings were marred by partisan attacks on the New Deal, presaging McCarthy.

The most pervasive period of Soviet espionage came during World War II, when Russia, as an ally of the United States, received military equipment financed under the policy of lend-lease. It was then that highly placed spies operated inside the U.S. government and in Americas nuclear facilities. Thanks to the Venona transcripts of KGB cable traffic, we now have a detailed account of wartime Soviet espionage, down to the marital problems of Soviet spies and the KGBs abject efforts to capture deserting Soviet seamen on American soil.

During the Truman years, Soviet espionage was in disarray following the defections of Elizabeth Bentley and Igor Gouzenko. The American Communist Party was much diminished by a number of measures, including its expulsion from the labor unions, the prosecution of its leaders under the Smith Act, and the weeding out, under Trumans loyalty program, of subversives in government. As Morgan persuasively establishes, by the time McCarthy exploited the Red issue in 1950, the battle against Communists had been all but won by the Truman administration.

In this bold narrative history, Ted Morgan analyzes the paradoxical culture of fear that seized a nation at the height of its power. Using Joseph McCarthys previously unavailable private papers and recently released transcripts of closed hearings of McCarthys investigations subcommittee, Morgan provides many new insights into the notorious Red hunters methods and motives.

Full of drama and intrigue, finely etched portraits, and political revelations, Reds brings to life a critical period in American history that has profound relevance to our own time.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ted Morgan is the author of FDR; Churchill, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Somerset Maugham, a finalist for the National Book Award; and two epic narrative histories of America, Wilderness at Dawn: The Settling of the North American Continent and A Shovel of Stars: The Making of the American West—1800 to the Present. He lives in New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812973020
Author:
Morgan, Ted
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Communism & Socialism
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Rh Trade PB
Publication Date:
20050531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
8.00x5.22x1.48 in. 1.08 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
History and Social Science » US History » 1920 to 1960
History and Social Science » US History » 1945 to Present
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

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