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A persuasive speaker and cunning political operative, McCarthy was arguably the most powerful senator of the 1950s. He destroyed the personal and professional lives of hundreds of Americans, including some of the country's most prominent writers and artists. How and why did he do it?
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Grade 6-9-Sherrow follows McCarthy's transition from a poorly dressed Wisconsin lawyer to an unpopular and unsuccessful senator crusading against Communists in the U.S., while simultaneously explaining Red Scares and the state of post-World War II America. This approach works well by putting a face to the times, showing students that history is the story of individuals and their actions, but without being particularly sympathetic or unfairly harsh to its subjects. Interesting sidebars introduce some of McCarthy's contemporaries such as "The Hollywood Ten," Alger Hiss, and Robert Oppenheimer. While the constant exchange between the stories of the man and the country may be confusing, readers are aided by a particularly extensive index. As many history books at this level contain surprisingly scant information about the father of McCarthyism, this title is a worthwhile addition for most libraries.
Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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