978-1-58642-091-8 / 9781586420918

Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and Great American Communist Hunt





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About the book:

This celebrated work of political history  featured on the covers of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times Book Reviews  adds a new chapter to our understanding of the U.S. in the twentieth century and does so with rigor and verve. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada was a force of nature in American politics, one of the most shrewd and powerful  and vindictive  lawmakers ever to sit in Congress. Joe McCarthy gave his name to the cause of zealous anti-Communism, but it was McCarran, a lifelong Democrat, who actually wrote the laws, held the hearings, and cowed the State and Justice Departments into doing his bidding. An earth-shaker, Lyndon Johnson once called McCarran, who impressed his personality deeply and indelibly upon the institution of the Senate and upon the history of the nation.
But McCarrans career is not only the story of one mans extraordinary drive to power  the son of illiterate immigrants, McCarran was a sheepherder who taught himself the law and became a great defense attorney  it is also the epic journey of America from the Great Depression to the Cold War. Unlike many other writers who have examined this most contentious of periods in American history, either ignoring or exaggerating the existence of hidden Communists in the federal government, journalist Michael Ybarra takes a different approach. He vividly recreates the world of McCarrans conservatism and its collision with the worlds of radical politics and Soviet espionage, bringing to life the people and ideas that convulsed America for two decades, culminating in the tragedy of McCarthyism. Like a great Russian novel, Washington Gone Crazy seeks not to condemn but to explain, to show how men can both make history and be trapped by it. It is a masterful work of storytelling but also essential history, Pat McCarrans story but also Americas.

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