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Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Beware of Reviews from Persons Who Have Not Read This Book

I read this book and found it fascinating. Whether you like McCarthy or not, and whether you agree with the author's conclusions or not, this book is well researched and well written. It draws on newly-available material (mostly primary sources from Senate records and...
I read this book and found it fascinating. Whether you like McCarthy or not, and whether you agree with the author's conclusions or not, this book is well researched and well written. It draws on newly-available material (mostly primary sources from Senate records and declassified FBI files). It even includes photo-copies of relevant documents, including the list of suspected Communist agents who were employed by the US Federal Government.

Beware of review by people who have not bothered to read the book, and who are merely expressing their political viewpoints.

posted by Midlander on January 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

Evans has written a book that arch-conservatives of the Ann Coulter school can happily rally around and praise to the heavens. Indeed, Coulter herself did this quite literally when she called it 'the greatest book since the Bible' (no, I'm not making that up). ...
Evans has written a book that arch-conservatives of the Ann Coulter school can happily rally around and praise to the heavens. Indeed, Coulter herself did this quite literally when she called it 'the greatest book since the Bible' (no, I'm not making that up). Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, no serious student of history will find any reason to rethink the 'conventional wisdom' on McCarthy in this volume. Evans is to be credited for putting a lot of work into his research, but despite his pretensions to the contrary, his labors failed to turn up anything of significance. To any rational reader with a mote of critical thinking skills, Joseph McCarthy's body still lies at the end of this book where it has lain for 50 years: In the grave of a malicious liar. The last semi-scholarly attempt to revise history and 'rehabilitate' McCarthy was Arthur Herman's 'Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator'. In that book, Herman could usually be relied on to report the facts honestly. Only after giving the facts would he move heaven and earth to invent excuses for his hero. For example, Herman reports that McCarthy lied, often and extravigantly and on-record, about his military career. But Herman then hastens to tell us that other politicians have been known to exaggerate their wartime exploits, implying that that makes it okay. And when McCarthy launched his career as an anti- communist with his pathetic and largely fictional 'lists' of 57 or 81 or 205 communists in government service, Herman tells us McCarthy 'was making a good point badly'. Evans doesn't follow this game plan. His book is more deeply researched than Herman's, but it's also far less honest. Evans isn't interested in any facts that don't make McCarthy look like a hero. Thus, the sticky issue of the Great Man's military service is swept under the rug with a single misleading sentence: 'There would be wrangles later about the citations he received for his wartime service and the number of missions he flew...' The only 'wrangles' over these points were between McCarthy and the truth. Similarly, Evans spends one entire chapter of his book, exerting vast and strenuous efforts of research, to establish that maybe, just possibly, McCarthy used the number '57' in his Wheeling, WV speech as the number of 'card-carrying Communists' he claimed were in the State Department, rather than the number '205' that most historians believe he used. (McCarthy used '205' in the written copy of the speech he gave to reporters, but according to Evans it was disgracefully dishonest of those reporters to actually use this document.) Well that's just fine, though no historian or biographer has ever denied that this was a possibility, and in any case Evans ignores the vastly-more-important fact that either number was a complete and utter fabrication on McCarthy's part. Though he tries to hurry the reader past the issue, his own words make it clear that McCarthy didn't have anything remotely resembling a list of 57 'communists' in the State Department. The book is comprised entirely of deceptions like this. Many more examples could be given, but the basic pattern is the same: focus on some irrelevant detail that makes McCarthy look good and his opponents look bad, and ignore the larger truth. Early in the book, 100 pages are expended in a rapid-fire jumble of names the names of communists in America, of people who had 'contact' with communists, were roommates of communists, who had spouses with cousins who had once been seen with communists, etc., etc. It's obvious, even from Evans' own words, that the evidence against many of these people exists only in Evans' imagination (and before Evans, in the hugely overactive imagination of J. Edgar Hoover). This is all the more obvious to readers who know a lit

posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2008

    A reviewer

    Evans has written a book that arch-conservatives of the Ann Coulter school can happily rally around and praise to the heavens. Indeed, Coulter herself did this quite literally when she called it 'the greatest book since the Bible' (no, I'm not making that up). Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, no serious student of history will find any reason to rethink the 'conventional wisdom' on McCarthy in this volume. Evans is to be credited for putting a lot of work into his research, but despite his pretensions to the contrary, his labors failed to turn up anything of significance. To any rational reader with a mote of critical thinking skills, Joseph McCarthy's body still lies at the end of this book where it has lain for 50 years: In the grave of a malicious liar. The last semi-scholarly attempt to revise history and 'rehabilitate' McCarthy was Arthur Herman's 'Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator'. In that book, Herman could usually be relied on to report the facts honestly. Only after giving the facts would he move heaven and earth to invent excuses for his hero. For example, Herman reports that McCarthy lied, often and extravigantly and on-record, about his military career. But Herman then hastens to tell us that other politicians have been known to exaggerate their wartime exploits, implying that that makes it okay. And when McCarthy launched his career as an anti- communist with his pathetic and largely fictional 'lists' of 57 or 81 or 205 communists in government service, Herman tells us McCarthy 'was making a good point badly'. Evans doesn't follow this game plan. His book is more deeply researched than Herman's, but it's also far less honest. Evans isn't interested in any facts that don't make McCarthy look like a hero. Thus, the sticky issue of the Great Man's military service is swept under the rug with a single misleading sentence: 'There would be wrangles later about the citations he received for his wartime service and the number of missions he flew...' The only 'wrangles' over these points were between McCarthy and the truth. Similarly, Evans spends one entire chapter of his book, exerting vast and strenuous efforts of research, to establish that maybe, just possibly, McCarthy used the number '57' in his Wheeling, WV speech as the number of 'card-carrying Communists' he claimed were in the State Department, rather than the number '205' that most historians believe he used. (McCarthy used '205' in the written copy of the speech he gave to reporters, but according to Evans it was disgracefully dishonest of those reporters to actually use this document.) Well that's just fine, though no historian or biographer has ever denied that this was a possibility, and in any case Evans ignores the vastly-more-important fact that either number was a complete and utter fabrication on McCarthy's part. Though he tries to hurry the reader past the issue, his own words make it clear that McCarthy didn't have anything remotely resembling a list of 57 'communists' in the State Department. The book is comprised entirely of deceptions like this. Many more examples could be given, but the basic pattern is the same: focus on some irrelevant detail that makes McCarthy look good and his opponents look bad, and ignore the larger truth. Early in the book, 100 pages are expended in a rapid-fire jumble of names the names of communists in America, of people who had 'contact' with communists, were roommates of communists, who had spouses with cousins who had once been seen with communists, etc., etc. It's obvious, even from Evans' own words, that the evidence against many of these people exists only in Evans' imagination (and before Evans, in the hugely overactive imagination of J. Edgar Hoover). This is all the more obvious to readers who know a lit

    5 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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