Thursday, April 16, 2009

A book i hope to read before i die

It does not exist. No one has written it yet.

I want to read a good history of the McCarthy era.

My bookshelves are littered with books that cover the topic. All of them are unsatisfactory.

Most take the conventional view that Joe McCarthy was evil personified, an unscrupulous politician who persecuted innocent people. They take it as a given that there were no Reds to fear so any Red Scare was inherently irrational. After Venona and the opening of the Soviet archives, that just won't cut it anymore.

Some conservatives have used the new revelations to defend McCarthy but they don't quite hit the mark either. I'll grant that there were communists aplenty in Washington. Unfortunately, Joe did not go after them. He let Roy Cohn run off chasing books in USIA libraries and dentists in the Army Reserves.

How did even an unscrupulous Red Hunter fail in such a target rich environment?

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