The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!: Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America / Edition 1

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This book explores a widely lived yet little remembered facet of America's cultural and political history: the Cold War as experienced at the grassroots level. Here, Fried traces the cresting of modern patriotic observance during World War II and then shows how patriotic and civic activists afterwards labored to recreate a remembered unity and commitment in the tension-filled Cold War era. A variety of national and local entities mounted campaigns "to sell America to the Americans" through "rededication" celebrations like Know Your America Week and Freedom Week. The American Heritage Foundation wheeled out the Freedom Train, which carried seminal documents of the nation's past to railroad depots across the US. Fried revisits the 1950 "Communist invasion" of Mosinee, Wisconsin, when ersatz Stalinists harassed and bullied citizens and the town's eateries served only potato soup and black bread. He also depicts the creation and inauguration of new patriotic events like Loyalty Day and Armed Forces Day.

Meticulously researched, this book recreates a colorful, sometimes comical, and always revealing dimension of our history.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195134179
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (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

Introduction: Patriotic Pageantry in America
1. Wake Up, America: Origins of Modern Patriotism
2. Precious Freight: The Freedom Train
3. Capturing the Streets for Loyalty
4. Springtime for Stalin in Mosinee
5. "The Cold War Belongs to Us All": Patriotizing the American Calendar
6. The Cornwallises Send Regrets: Historical Commemoration in the 1950s
7. Patriotic Gore
8. "Shame on Them": The Decline on Cold War Pageantry
Manuscript Sources

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