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Best of the Web

Ellen Schrecker, Many Are The Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1999)

Many Are The Crimes is the best one-volume critical history of McCarthyism. Schrecker's analysis acknowledges the myriad shortcomings of American Communists, but suggests that the apparatus of repression created in the McCarthy period to suppress Communism was out of all proportion to the actual threat.

Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator (1999)

Herman's biography thoughtfully transforms McCarthy from a monstrous caricature into a real human being by putting the senator's tumultuous life into rich historical context. While the biography isn't exactly a rehabilitation of McCarthy, it does complicate our picture of a man usually depicted as a cartoonish villain.

Victor Navasky, Naming Names (2003)

Naming Names is a deeply thoughtful exploration of the moral dilemmas that faced HUAC witnesses. Well-written and at times moving, Navasky's book is the best place to begin to study the moral ramifications of the Hollywood Ten hearings.

Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner, Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Blacklistees in Film and Television, 1950-2002 (2004)

A fascinating attempt to reconstruct the impact of the Hollywood blacklistees on half a century's worth of film and television. The blacklist was more influential on our popular culture than you probably realize!

John Culver and John Hyde, American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace (2001)

The best biography of one of the strangest and most fascinating public figures of the twentieth century, Henry Wallace.

David McCullough, Truman (1993)

One of America's most popular historians offers a friendly biography of Harry Truman, a President much more popular among historians today than he was among his constituents while in office.

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