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Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies

Publisher: Crown Forum • 2009 • 672 pages
4.81 out of 5 • View Ratings Details • 21 Ratings

In standard histories of the so-called “Red Scare” of the 1950s, Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.) is depicted as a lying bully who falsely named helpless victims in the U.S. State Department and other government bureaus as Communists or Soviet agents. Lying and baseless charges of subversion were the supposed essence of McCarthy’s method. History has judged him such a loathsome figure that to this day, some fifty years after the Army-McCarthy hearings, people hurl the term “McCarthyism” to attack any perceived witch-hunt. But now, in “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy,” veteran journalist M. Stanton Evans shows not only that this portrayal of McCarthy and his cases is mistaken — but that virtually everything else that we’ve been told about McCarthy and his “era” is false.

Evans has spent more than a decade researching this book— poring over vast amounts of data that were unknown to the American public in the 1950s and that corroborate the case McCarthy was making then. Indeed, many of those people McCarthy named as Communists show up in the official records that were suppressed at the time— and yet most of these individuals are still regarded as McCarthy’s victims. And, while McCarthy is often accused of being a liar, Blacklisted by History exposes how the senator’s opponents were covering up or even actively falsifying the factual record, and in some cases lying to the public.

Relying almost exclusively on primary source documents buried in U.S. government archives— including troves of previously unexamined FBI files, formerly missing State Department records, telephone intercepts, and heretofore unknown data from congressional investigations— M. Stanton Evans has unearthed the hidden history of America’s backstage Cold War. His astonishing findings reveal that McCarthy understood, far better than his opponents cared to admit, the insidious forces that posed a very real threat to American society and institutions.

Among the revelations in this ground-breaking book:

  • Previously secret government records proving there was massive penetration of the federal government by Communists and Soviet agents, beginning in the Depression— long before McCarthy came on the scene
  • Complete lists of McCarthy early cases— most never previously published -and how his charges are supported by the archives of the FBI, the so-called Venona decrypts monitoring contacts between the Soviets and their agents, and other official records
  • What long-secret FBI files reveal about McCarthy’s foremost early target, Prof. Owen Lattimore of the Office of War Information and Institute of Pacific Relations
  • The famous case of Annie Lee Moss—the most notorious of all McCarthy cases—and how the truth about it was concealed for 50 years (and still is in histories of the era)
  • The pro-Soviet stance of State Department official Dean Acheson in 1945 when he assumed a dominant role in the department—quite different from his later Cold War image—and the consequences for security and policy measures then adopted
  • FBI reports about Communists and Soviet agents on federal payrolls— among them such later well-known figures as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Alger Hiss, Treasury staffer Harry Dexter White, and White House assistant Lauchlin Currie
  • How, though top officials were informed as early as December 1942 that J. Robert Oppenheimer was considered by Communist leaders to be a secret member of the party, nothing was done about the case for upwards of a decade
  • The massive cover-up, conducted by White House and Department of Justice officials, of the espionage case of diplomat John Stewart service and the pro-Communist magazine Amerasia—and how it became one of McCarthy’s principal early cases
  • Systematic high-level efforts to cover up the facts about other McCarthy cases—included a sweeping secrecy order issued by President Truman in March 1948, a still more extensive order by President Eisenhower in May 1954
  • How the Washington Post and New York Times loudly supported “executive privilege” and presidential secrecy measures—as long as they were directed against McCarthy
  • How Truman forces sought, in the 1948 showdown between Soviet agent Alger Hiss and ex-Communist witness Whittaker Chambers to discredit and indict, not Hiss, but Chambers
  • The extensive backstage collusion between the State Department and the Tydings committee supposedly investigating McCarthy’s charges— plus concealment efforts including 35 pages of disappearing transcript
  • Still other disappearing records—including numerous key documents from the National Archives and other official data sources—many of which were recovered by the author
  • How Soviet secret agents and pro-Red forces conspired on a global basis to make sure Japan attacked America— not Russia—in the 1941 run-up to Pearl Harbor
  • High-level orders issued during World War II to ensure that Communists and fellow travelers got official jobs, then were protected from anti-Red security investigations
  • How secret Communist agents in U.S. and British governments concocted false “intelligence” to discredit and destroy anti-Communist leaders in Yugoslavia and China—and in both cases, tragically, succeeded
  • Top-level official U.S. efforts during World War II to plot the assassination of the anti-Communist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, then sponsor a military coup d’etat against him when he sought refuge on Taiwan
  • What McCarthy did—and didn’t—say in his famous 1950 speech at Wheeling, W. Va., launching the “McCarthy era”—and how the standard histories distort this
  • The “recording” of Joe McCarthy’s speech at Wheeling Senator Millard Tydings professed to have — but then admitted under oath he didn’t
  • The untold story of Joe Welch assistant Frederick Fisher, allegedly “outed” by Joe McCarthy, in fact outed by Welch himself six weeks before this historic confrontation
  • How the so-called Gillette committee set out to discredit McCarthy by suppressing an official report that backed up McCarthy and refusing to print McCarthy’s testimony before the panel
  • How McCarthy’s refusal to cooperate with this committee became the only count of 46 originally brought against him in the Watkins hearings of 1954 for which McCarthy would be censured by the Senate

A groundbreaking book based on exhaustive research, “Blacklisted by History” is much more than a look at the McCarthy era — it is revealing investigation into how our view of history can so often be distorted.

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