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Evans aims to give empirical proof that those Senator McCarthy accused of spying for the Soviet Union in the 1950s were guilty of it: e.g. two decades of House and Senatorial memos, 1930s Congressional spy investigations, government reports on security, official lists of named security risks, two decades of FBI reports with margin notes, transcripts of FBI wiretaps, notes from political strategy meetings squirreled away in boxes, and so forth. This pastiche of evidence plays the devil with the book's narrative for the first few chapters. So, I'm glad I listened rather than read. In Evan's view, McCarthy was more sinned against than sinning. He conducted his inquiries fairly, did not slander, and did not steamroller anyone. He was an exceptionally bright, lower-class, self-made man who raced through high school and law college. He was a judge while only in his thirties. As junior Senator from Wisconsin (age 41) he threatened to mortify the Whitehouse, Democratic Senate, and State Department, with revelations of a "massive" communist penetration of the U.S. government. Each threatened institution had enough individual power to poleax him. Despite that, the first wave of retribution couldn't touch him, because what he said about communist infiltration was "old news" in Washington circles, and there was years of evidence to prove it. When Democrats lost the House and the Presidency in 1952, McCarthy alienated Eisenhower by soundly condemning George Marshall for losing China, then going after some of Eisenhower's job nominees soft on communism. By 1954 McCarthy held a tiger by the tail and it finally ate him with Republican help.
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...until you read this book.
Whatever else you think you know about McCarthy, you cannot express an informed, knowledgeable opinion until and unless you read this book.
So much, perhaps most, of the historical record, the factual historical record, about McCarthy has been suppressed deliberately until now.
Regardless of the side of the political aisle on which you reside, you owe it to yourself as a citizen, and to your country as an informed citizen, to read this book.
If it seems too big a task, start at chapter 20. If even that seems too big a task, read chapters 32 and 42.
You will learn things that will astonish you, and that will call into question virtually everything you thought you knew about McCarthy and that era.
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