• Dark Days in the Newsroom

  • McCarthyism Aimed at the Press
  • By: Edward Alwood
  • Narrated by: Robert Thaler
  • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 07-12-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
  • 4.7 (9 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

Dark Days in the Newsroom traces how journalists became radicalized during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s. Edward Alwood, a former news correspondent, describes this remarkable story of conflict, principle, and personal sacrifice with noticeable élan. He shows how McCarthy's minions pried inside newsrooms thought to be sacrosanct under the First Amendment, and details how some journalists mounted a heroic defense of freedom of the press while others secretly enlisted in the government's anti-communist crusade.
Relying on previously undisclosed documents from FBI files along with personal interviews, Alwood provides a richly informed commentary on one of the most significant moments in the history of American journalism. Arguing that the experiences of the McCarthy years profoundly influenced the practice of journalism, he shows how many of the issues faced by journalists in the 1950s prefigure today's conflicts over the right of journalists to protect their sources.
The book is published by Temple University Press.
©2007 Edward Alwood (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"An excellent book...This is going to be a valuable addition to the books on the subject and an important component to a journalism students' library." (Jarice Hanson, University of Massachusetts)
"This book is particularly evocative as the nation faces a debate about national security and press freedom." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Anonymous User on 08-28-17

Strong but with faults

If you could sum up Dark Days in the Newsroom in three words, what would they be?

a good retelling, it was original but it could have been better written and less repetitive at times

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Not very original ending. the meat and potatoes of the book in my perspective was the HUAC material and the discussions of the early origins of the Communist Party in America and the great bio of Heywood Brown who I sense is largely forgotten now in our history. How this all ties in with the issues of the 1st Amendment, Freedom of speech and the 4th estate are what makes the book interesting.

What does Robert Thaler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's the saving grace of the audio. He gives quite a few different voices to the period, nails the speech of that time, even does an excellent Joe McCarthy. Without this fellow driving the narrative the story would sag. Striking voice and presentation. Why the hell whoever does the hiring can't route around and find more quality like this is beyond me. I have often been appalled at the sub par delivery of so many of the 'readers' that they hire, its like Russian roulette picking out a book even some of the guys and gals who do hundreds of books can be beyond awful, there just doesn't seem to be much quality control For a manuscript like this one which is potentially pretty dry, its essential to find a narrator like this one with style and substance.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

the story is a manuscript more or less of that period with many original details presented in journalistic form and many factoids about J Edgar Hoover, McCarthy, Randolph Hearst, the background machinations of the newspaper guilds,the Unions,the American Communist Party and the FBI all vying in power struggles for supremacy

Any additional comments?

It was worth my money but it could have been better if the author wasn't quite so academic and at times repetitive. The narrator sells it. Also the technical arguments and points made by the writer can be a bit ponderous, is that the right word? Don't know, I just finished the listen and will let it sit a while

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By pete on 08-03-17

ambitious, original

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes because its an original and unbiased depiction of the Red Scare of the 40s and 50s, provides excellent context and the author does not side immediately with the accused as is so prevalent in previous decades

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dark Days in the Newsroom?

I was not familiar at all with the infamous Venona Cables which were communiques from Moscow to Communist Party operations in the U.S. in the 30s and I think the 40s. There were thousands of these kept confidential until much later. The realization that Party officials or commissars in Russia were at times quite incompetent in their spy operations was both funny and probably quite typical. That they were directly funding flights and travel expenses abroad for certain American reporters was disturbing and very interesting

What does Robert Thaler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I was able to listen with ease over 2 short days. Thaler has weight and flair. I think they hired the right guy. I just wish Audible would do that more often, hire the right guy for the job, I have in the past been stuck with some real lemons

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

the passages about Harvey Matusow, the government stooge who was a working informant and insinuated himself into Joe McCarthy's inner circle were highly entertaining. I mean the man was quite obviously unstable and a chronic liar who fabricated numbers,names,events,you name it, to further his own ends. He could be compared to some of the leakers today in Washington. Matusow claimed there were 125 paid Communists on the staff of the NYTimes but the Staff only employed 76 people at that time. Listening to Joe McCarthy operate at the hearings was revealing to say the least, you really get a feel for the guy.

Any additional comments?

the writer was well balanced in his approach. I commend him for that. There are two sides to this story, he covers the victims and those falsely accused, but also covers how the Guilds and Newspapers were infiltrated by Communists especially in the 30s what were the reasons and context for all this. Very informative. My criticism would be that at times like in the Valerie Plame comparisons in the book the story gets a little hard to follow but other than that its a big winner and I want to see what else this writer comes up with in the future.

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