Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!: Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America

Overview

After summarizing such patriotic developments as the sanctification of the American flag and the wide - and occasionally coercive - acceptance of the Pledge of Allegiance, Fried describes how the Ad Council, the American Heritage Foundation, and other organizations created "campaigns to sell America to the Americans" through carefully constructed "rededication" celebrations like "Know Your America" Weeks, Freedom Weeks, and traveling exhibitions such as the Freedom Train, which in the late 1940s brought original ...
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Overview

After summarizing such patriotic developments as the sanctification of the American flag and the wide - and occasionally coercive - acceptance of the Pledge of Allegiance, Fried describes how the Ad Council, the American Heritage Foundation, and other organizations created "campaigns to sell America to the Americans" through carefully constructed "rededication" celebrations like "Know Your America" Weeks, Freedom Weeks, and traveling exhibitions such as the Freedom Train, which in the late 1940s brought original copies of seminal American documents directly to cities and towns across the country. He vividly recreates the spectacle of clashing New York City parades involving thousands of participants, as celebrants of the newly-created Loyalty Day marched in opposition to pro-Communist May Day demonstrations just blocks away. Most startling, though, is Fried's account of how Mosinee, Wisconsin was "invaded" by Communists in a staged media event sponsored by the American Legion. Citizens allowed themselves to be searched at random while local officials acted the part of Stalinists, and the town restaurants were required to serve only potato soup and black bread.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
With the end of the Cold War, scholars can examine that era from a broader and deeper perspective than previously possible. This book reveals the concerted governmental effort to overcome American cultural complacency through staged patriotism as a national strategy against the Communist challenge. Traditional holidays, for example, became serious, legislated pageants. Fried (history, Univ. of Illinois; Nightmare in Red, Oxford Univ., 1991) covers the sanctification of the American flag, the implementation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and other media campaigns to sell Americanism. Many of these new stories confirm Alexis de Tocqueville's prescient insight from the early 19th century that warned about the tyranny of the majority. Readers may be comforted, however, that post-Cold War political correctness fads likely will be no more enduring than those adopted during the Cold War. Recommended for public and academic libraries.William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Times Literary Supplement
Richard M. Fried's new book The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! illuminates the public spectacles and pageantry which underlie the most colourful notions of the epoch between the end of the Second World War and the rise of a counter-culture....Without surrendering a sense of the comedy of Cold War pageantry, Fried brings historical rigour to a piece of social history that is too often exploited as camp. A fine picture emerges of the 'soft', everyday propaganda that existed alongside the more widely documented, malign culture of McCarthyism.'
From the Publisher
"A wonderful account of civil pagenatry in the McCarthy era, when true patriots observed "Loyalty Day," rode the "Freedom Train," and marched in "Wake Up, America" parades. In the crowded field of Cold War scholarship, The Russians are Coming stands out for its originality, its elegant writing, and its often hilarious recreation of the grass-roots struggle against communism in the ominous days of Alger Hiss, atomic air raid drills, and the Korean War. A must read for anyone interested in modern American history, and a fun read as well."—David Oshinsky, Rutgers University

"Richard Fried's The Russians are Coming is a significant new approach to our understanding of domestic aspects of the cold war. Drawing on a rich array of original sources, Fried shows how a government-private partnership created public pageants to generate popular support for the conflict with the Soviet Union. No other work explains so well how prominent officials and business leaders tried to persuade ordinary people to see connections between their daily lives and the global competition with the Soviet Union."—Robert D. Schulziner, University of Colorado, Boulder

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195070200
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/3/1998
  • Pages: 240
  • Lexile: 1330L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard M. Fried is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of Nightmare in Red (OUP, 1990).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Patriotic Pageantry in America 1
1 Wake Up, America: Origins of Modern Patriotism 11
2 Precious Freight: The Freedom Train 29
3 Capturing the Streets for Loyalty 51
4 Springtime for Stalin in Mosinee 67
5 "The Cold War Belongs to Us All": Patriotizing the American Calendar 87
6 The Cornwallises Send Regrets: Historical Commemoration in the 1950s 99
7 Patriotic Gore 119
8 "Shame on Them": The Decline of Cold War Pageantry 139
Conclusion 151
Notes 161
Manuscript Sources 207
Index 211
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2003

    Reviews are Coming, The Reviews are Coming!

    This book was informative and great history was said, but the years the book was talking about would jump forward in time and back in time. Over all, the book was informative but not very well laid out.

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