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Ordeal by Slander: The First Great Book of the McCarthy Era
     

Ordeal by Slander: The First Great Book of the McCarthy Era

by Owen Lattimore, Blanche Wiesen Cook (Introduction), David Lattimore (Preface by)
 

Joseph McCarthy was not yet a household name in 1950 when Owen Lattimore was labeled by the senator from Wisconsin as the "top Russian espionage agent in the country." Lattimore, in Kabul, Afghanistan, learned about the accusation a week later. Having already lost valuable time to rebut the smear, he succinctly cabled back that the charge was "pure moonshine," and

Overview

Joseph McCarthy was not yet a household name in 1950 when Owen Lattimore was labeled by the senator from Wisconsin as the "top Russian espionage agent in the country." Lattimore, in Kabul, Afghanistan, learned about the accusation a week later. Having already lost valuable time to rebut the smear, he succinctly cabled back that the charge was "pure moonshine," and returned to the United States to defend his good name. He soon dared McCarthy to utter his slander in a venue other than the Senate, where congressional immunity shielded him from lawsuits, but he refused to do so. Following a torturous Senate inquisition, Lattimore published this riveting book which he wrote in white-hot indignation. Judged at the time to be "a masterpiece of factual exposition [and] a social document of first-rate importance,"* this absorbing narrative chronicles how the ordeal threw Lattimore's life into perilous straits, and how he defended himself, while undermining the credibility of his accusers. In a battle for his very liberty, Lattimore prepared for the equivalent of an alley fight with the brawling senator. His supremely competent wife, Eleanor, was his trusted aide; along with attorney Abe Fortas they drew out of Lattimore's writings passages that would prove his loyalty. Yet, as a scholar who was accustomed to nuanced interpretations of current affairs, his accusers were able to conflate the same writings into a traitor's hidden agenda. Ordeal by Slander was the first great book to come out of the McCarthy era, and it remains a supremely topical book for today. "A tremendously stirring, human drama."—The Atlantic Monthly "A disturbing and illuminating book."—The New Yorker

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The "ordeal" is the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s, when Lattimore was accused of being a Russian spy. To defend his name, Lattimore produced this 1950 volume, which became a best seller. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786711338
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
12/23/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.78(d)

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