Senator Joe McCarthy

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9780061319709: Senator Joe McCarthy

The story of Senator Joseph McCarthy's rise to unprecedented power and the decline of his influence is a dramatic one. Richard Rovere documents the process by which a clever, power hungry individual came to mislead and manipulate members of Congress and the American public and to damage countless lives. A new foreword for this edition by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. places the book in historical context and relates it to current issues in American public life.

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Review:

Richard Rovere, a longtime New Yorker staff writer who died in 1979, combined three all-too-rare journalistic traits--legwork, style, and bravery--to create this 1959 J'accuse, which Walter Lippman called "the definitive job." Rovere had a handle on the particulars, as illustrated by his surgical disassembly of Joe McCarthy's fantastic autobiography, and the abstract principles, as illustrated by his comment that McCarthy's victories were mostly in "matters of an almost cosmic insignificance." His causes celebres were causes ridicules. The University of California Press is to be congratulated for this paperback reissue. After all, even if anticommunism is on sabbatical, demagoguery is not, and it pays to stay up on the tricks of the trade.

From the Inside Flap:

"The definitive job, and I can't imagine what else there is to say about him."—Walter Lippman

"This is an appraisal without apology. If its judgments are uncompromising, they are also given without rancor, indeed with an air of almost sympathetic curiosity about the phenomenon that was McCarthy. . . . It is no surprise that [Rovere's] book is a vividly written, sophisticated recreation of a political episode whose manic qualities already begin to seem unbelievable."—Anthony Lewis

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