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Larry I. BlandA political tract disguised as a scholarly history, this book is intended to be a contribution to the right-wing side of the current “culture war” in the United States. Nevertheless, it could have been written in 1956 as a companion piece to William Buckley and Brent Bozell’s McCarthy and His Enemies. Contrary to appearances, the author is not McCarthy’s defense lawyer but a cultural historian who received his Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University (1985), is adjunct professor at George Mason University, and coordinator of the Western Civilization Program at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1997 he published The Idea of Decline in Western History.
According to Herman, McCarthy was justified and correct in all important political ideas and actions. The senator’s liberal enemies in academia, government, and the media were elitist gullible fools (at best). Sometimes they were irresponsibly blind (“in complicity with evil”) to the enormous danger communist subversion and propaganda posed to American society, but just as often they were actual traitors or Marxist-inclined dupes. Revisionist and antiwar writers of the 1960s and after are the ideological descendants of this evil crew.
Most of the author’s sources are secondary, but he also uses contemporary publications, published congressional hearings, a few interviews, and some manuscript collections. The book is nicely published, illustrated, and indexed. Nobody left of Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond will be convinced by the author’s exegesis, but the book is a must for all conservatives and conspiracy buffs. One presumes that right-wing foundations and corporations will wish to buy it in bulk for distribution to true believers.
—American Diplomacy, Summer 2000