12 Best Books About Mccarthyism Update 05/2022

Books About Mccarthyism

Authors, experts, and creators say these are the best books about McCarthyism, so you can look through them. As well as why they think they’re good books.

Next fall, you’ll be able to sort this list by genre! (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

The Washington Post’s David Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of a best-selling book about his life. A Good American Family is the title of his new book. It talks about how his father was blacklisted during the Red Scare.

McCarthyism: The Fight for America

By Joe McCarthy

McCarthyism The Fight for America

There is no better way to start looking into the conspiracy McCarthy and his backers feared than to hear it from the person who said it. Joe makes his case in this small book.

The Age of Suspicion

By James A. Wechsler

Wechsler was the editor of the New York Post, a short-lived Communist, and a liberal for the rest of his life. McCarthy and McCarthyism were big fans of him. Wechsler’s sharp-tongued look at the era is the perfect contrast to McCarthy’s, and he gives us a look at the scare’s real-life victims through a new lens.

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government

By David K. Johnson

Historians like Johnson were one of the first to show that the McCarthy-era witch hunts against gay and lesbian federal employees were just as ferocious as the McCarthy-era witch hunts against suspected communists. Johnson was one of them. The cruel treatment of government workers who were suspected of being gay caused a lot of people to have their lives ruined and kill themselves. In fact, as Johnson shows, it also made the victims more politically aware. They saw themselves as a gay and lesbian community that had to fight for civil rights.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

By Malinda Lo

As you can see, Malinda Lo is very good at writing. She seems to be able to write well in every kind of genre. There are a lot of things that make this book so good, like the characters, the dialogue, the vivid setting, the rich sensory details, and the food! If you want to read this historical novel, you’ll need snacks. It should come with a warning sticker. Despite the fact that I didn’t want to end the book, I really liked the historical background notes I found there. This book is very well-researched.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is where this book takes place. It shows how lesbian history and Chinese American history came to life through the stories of people who were gay and people who were Chinese. … show more.

Memory, History, Forgetting

By Paul Ricoeur

Memory, History, Forgetting

As a classic piece of philosophy, this book says that forgetting should be incorporated into our memories. History, memory, and forgetting are all connected in a complicated way. This raises ethical questions about how memory can be misused, and it looks into the connection between forgetting and forgiving.


By Robin Talley

This historical novel also looks into the lives of lesbians in the 1950s, but in a very different way. It is told in two separate stories, from the point of view of two teenage girls who came out six decades apart. When Janet was 18, she found a series of books called lesbian pulp novels. They were about women who love each other, and they were called “pulp.” 62 years later, Abby is reading 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. It’s a cleverly made story, and I love how the two stories are linked together.

From a queer history point of view, the book is well-researched and shows the danger and fear that people felt. … show more.

The Washington Post’s David Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of a best-selling book about his life. A Good American Family is the title of his new book. It talks about how his father was blacklisted during the Red Scare.

Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild (2016).

It is a heartbreaking and vivid book that shows how American volunteers and journalists helped fight in Spain’s Civil War and how it was also a place where people were killed for their beliefs and ideas. This little-known war is important to understanding the ideological fights that took place during World War II and the Red Scare. During this time, read Hochschild’s account and George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia at the same time.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953).

It’s a study of how people can use fear and hysteria to their advantage, which the playwright saw happen again during the McCarthy era. Life imitates art. Miller was cited by the House Un-American Activities Committee because he didn’t say who the people were in the play he had written years before he did.

Naming Names by Victor Navasky (1980).

Naming Names by Victor Navasky (1980)

This is a very sad story about why witnesses came to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It also talks about how it affected their lives and the lives of the people they named. The memoir of Whittaker Chambers, one of the most famous former Communist informants, is also a good read. Walter Bernstein, a screenwriter who was on the blacklist, wrote Inside Out, which is a heartbreaking memoir.

High Noon by Glenn Frankel (2017).

People who read Frankel’s book on the making of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance will learn about the sheriff who stands up for his town when people are scared. The movie was made during the height of the “Red Scare.” It was starring Gary Cooper, who even though he was anti-Communist, did not disparage a screenwriter who was called before HUAC and was blacklisted.

Stalin: Volume II — Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 by Stephen Kotkin (2017).

If you read Kotkin’s new biography, you’ll learn a lot about how the Soviet despot played a big role in turning the egalitarian ideal of communism into a system of paranoia and murder on a huge scale.

The Fifties by David Halberstam (1993).

A look at postwar American politics and culture through a variety of lenses. This was the decade that brought us the fearmongering of Joseph McCarthy and the promise of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the comfortable conformity of Holiday Inn and McDonald’s.

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