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From the late 1940s through the 1950s, McCarthyism disfigured the American political landscape. Under the altar of anticommunism, domestic Cold War crusaders undermined civil liberties, curtailed equality before the law, and tarnished the ideals of American democracy. In order to preserve freedom, they jettisoned some of its tenets. Congressional committees worked in tandem, although not necessarily in collusion, with the FBI, law firms, university administrations, publishing houses, television networks, movie studios, and a legion of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels to target “subversive” individuals.
Exploring the human consequences of the widespread paranoia that gripped a nation, Red Apple presents the international and domestic context for the experiences of these individuals: the House Un-American Activities Committee, hearings of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, resulting in the incarceration of its chairman, Dr. Edward Barsky, and its executive board; the academic freedom cases of two New York University professors, Lyman Bradley and Edwin Burgum, culminating in their dismissal from the university; the blacklisting of the communist writer Howard Fast and his defection from American communism; the visit of an anguished Dimitri Shostakovich to New York in the spring of 1949; and the attempts by O. John Rogge, the Committee’s lawyer, to find a “third way” in the quest for peace, which led detractors to question which side he was on.
Examining real-life experiences at the “ground level,” Deery explores how these six individuals experienced, responded to, and suffered from one of the most savage assaults on civil liberties in American history. Their collective stories illuminate the personal costs of holding dissident political beliefs in the face of intolerance and moral panic that is as relevant today as it was seventy years ago.
“In presenting six well-researched, detailed case studies of individuals deeply affected by the Red Scare of the 1950s, Phillip Deery has contributed greatly to our understanding of the nature of political repression and reminded us once again of this troubling moment in American history.”—Robert Genter, Nassau Community College
“Red Apple is a gem. Deery is a fine writer and a sensitive, balanced historian.”—Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University
"Overall, Deery's work is thoroughly researched, well documented, and detailed. It is a compelling read and a valuable contribution to the Cold War historiography."—H-Net Reviews
"It ['Red Apple'] is clearly written, based on an exhaustive list of sources, and most impressively shows a nuanced grasp of American political and cultural scene that is impressive for a scholar from Australia."—The American Conservative
"Overall, the book is a significant contribution to scholarship on the McCarthy era in the way it weaves the complex histories of these individuals associated with JAFRC, using New York City as the backdrop. The narrative is well placed, the anaylsis perceptive and the sourcing meticulous. Above all, it is very well written and reads in most parts like the best of biographies."—Labour History
"Phillip Deery's 'Red Apple: Communism and McCathyism in Cold War New York' reminds us of the devastating impact that domestic anticommunism has on its victims at the height of the Cold War. . . 'Red Apple' makes an important contribution to the literature on domestic anticommunism by turning our attention to New York City."—Clarence Taylor, Baruch College, American Historical Review
"Deery qualitatively expands the kinds of sources used to illuminate an elusive past through his textures and nuanced depiction of a world-class moral panic in the postwar United States, and the human consequences. 'Red Apple' enables us to move further away from a history nourished by myths and comprised by involuntary as well as deliberate amnesia, and closer to one of proven facts."—Alan Wald, —Science & Sociology
"The great contribution of 'Red Apple' is to show the value of going small to address big problems. . . The result is a careful and balanced history that shows us how lives were shaped by the politics of the era."—Patrick Iber, —Australasian Journal of American Studies
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