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Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America

by

Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A vital, engaging, and sometimes troubling story of modern America’s struggle to live up to its ideals.

 

In this ambitious and wide-ranging history, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria through the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities (ethnic, racial, political, religious, or sexual), silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties.

 

Whether it’s the post–World War I persecution of radicals; the Depression-era deportations of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans; the World War II internment of 112,000 ethnic Japanese along with thousands of German and Italian aliens; the Cold War campaigns against Communists, gays, and civil-rights activists; or the Vietnam-era COINTELPRO operations, we see how economic, military, and political crises have been used to curtail the rights of supposedly subversive minorities.

 

Much of the story can be laid at the feet of J. Edgar Hoover, but Feldman goes deeper to show how these tendencies have been part of a continuous vein that runs through American life. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman considers the entire programmatic sweep on a scale no one has yet approached. In doing so, he gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

A riveting and unsettling history of the assault on civil rights and liberties in America—from World War I to the War on Terror—by the acclaimed author of When the Mississippi Ran Backwards.

 

In this ambitious and wide-ranging account, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria to the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities (ethnic, racial, political, religious, or sexual), silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman considers the entire programmatic sweep on a scale no one has yet approached. In doing so, he gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed.

About the Author

Jay Feldman is also the author of the critically acclaimed When the Mississippi Ran Backwards. He is a widely published freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Gourmet, The New York Times, and many other national, regional, and local publications. He has written for television and the stage, and is the author of the novel Suitcase Sefton and the American Dream.

Table of Contents

1. The Fine Gold of Untainted Americanism

2. A Democracy Gone Mad

3. The Heel of the Government

4. A Peculiar Sort of Mental Hysteria

5. The Gravest Menace to the Country

6. A Skimming of the Great American Melting-Pot

7. A Lawless Government

8. Grave Abuses and Unnecessary Hardships

9. The Utmost Degree of Secrecy

10. A Jap Is a Jap

11. Scare Hell Out of the Country

12. A Neurotic Nightmare

13. There Were Many Wrecked Lives

14. There Are No Rules

15. We Never Gave It a Thought

Epilogue: An Aggressive Assault on Civil Liberties

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307388230
Author:
Feldman, Jay
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Politics-United States Politics
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20121131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 PP. BandW
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8 x 5.16 x 0.86 in 0.875 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America Used Trade Paper
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Product details 416 pages Anchor Books - English 9780307388230 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A riveting and unsettling history of the assault on civil rights and liberties in America—from World War I to the War on Terror—by the acclaimed author of When the Mississippi Ran Backwards.

 

In this ambitious and wide-ranging account, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria to the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities (ethnic, racial, political, religious, or sexual), silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman considers the entire programmatic sweep on a scale no one has yet approached. In doing so, he gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed.

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