Un-American Activities: The Trials of William Remington / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1948, William W. Remington was one of the bright young men in the Truman administration. He was tall and handsome, a product of Dartmouth and Columbia. From 1940 on, he had risen through government ranks, serving on wartime boards, the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and eventually as a major official in the Department of Commerce, with a promising future ahead. By 1954, however, Remington was dead - assassinated in his cell by a team of inmates in a high-security Federal prison. In Un-American Activities, historian Gary May tells the fascinating story of William Remington - a story of intrigue, injustice, government corruption, and anti-Communist hysteria. May labored for eight years in reconstructing Remington's case, searching through FBI files and government documents, and waging an epic battle against then U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani to become the first historian to obtain access to grand jury records. The result is a brilliant account of one man's tragic odyssey and a government run amok. Remington's future collapsed in 1948, when he was charged with being a Communist and a Soviet spy. The accuser was Elizabeth Bentley, an admitted ex-Communist herself and a former courier for Soviet spymasters. Remington's life fell into a whirlpool as he fought government improprieties, illegalities, and the assumption he was guilty. Cleared by government loyalty boards, he was indicted by a grand jurywhose foreman was secretly helping Elizabeth Bentley prepare her memoirs. Remington suffered through two trials for perjury, and the chief witness against him was his own embittered ex-wife. He was convicted and sentenced to the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where his reputation as a Communist preceded him. But May's account also offers fascinating insight into the depth of Soviet penetration into wartime America: As he follows Remington's life from the radical circles at Dartmouth and the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s through h

In 1948, William Remington was one of the bright young men in the Truman administration. But in 1954, he was assassinated in his jail cell by a team of inmates in a high-security Federal prison. Here is the story of intrigue, injustice, government corruption and anti-Communist hysteria that led to Remington's demise. 15 halftones.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a thorough and lucid study of Remington 1917-1954, an intriguing but minor figure in the Truman administration caught up in the 1950s hunt for Communists. May China Scapegoat , who teaches history at the University of Delaware, tells of Remington's days at Dartmouth, where he both supported Communism and was driven by worldly ambition, his government work leading to an important position in the Department of Commerce and his betrayal as a Communist in 1948 by Elizabeth Bentley, a former Communist herself and one-time Soviet agent. Before loyalty boards, to his lawyer, Joseph Rauh, and in court, Remington never told the full truth of his past, though he acquired defenders, such as New Yorker staff writer Daniel Lang, who wrote an expose of the government loyalty program. Indicted for perjury about his past by a grand jury whose foreman was Bentley's literary collaborator, Remington was convicted, retried after a reversal and convicted a second time in 1953. While serving a three-year prison term at the high-security Lewisburg prison, Remington was murdered by fellow prisoners; evidence suggested the murderers were motivated by anti-Communism, but authorities denied that. While May convincingly concludes that the Remington story ``is not a simple morality play,'' representing neither a pure case of government persecution nor a stride toward justice, he could have done more to contextualize the story. Photos not seen by PW. May
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781577663270
  • Publisher: Waveland Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Gary May is Associate Professor of History at the University of Delaware. He is the author of China Scapegoat: The Diplomatic Ordeal of John Carter Vincent, which won the Allan Nevins Prizeof the Society of American Historians.

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