For five long years in the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-Communist crusade dominated the American scene, terrified politicians, and destroyed the lives of thousands of our citizens. In this masterful history, Haynes Johnson re-creates that time of crisis-of President Eisenhower, who hated McCarthy but would not attack him; of the Republican senators who cynically used McCarthy to win their own elections; of Edward R. Murrow, whose courageous TV broadcast began McCarthy's downfall; and of mild-mannered lawyer Joseph Welch, who finally shamed McCarthy into silence. [via]
Johnson tells this monumental story through the lens of its relevance to our own time, when fear again affects American behavior and attitudes, for he believes now, as then, that our civil liberties, our Constitution, and our nation are at stake as we confront the ever more difficult task of balancing the need for national security with that of personal liberty.
Compelling narrative history, insightful political commentary, and intimate personal remembrance combine to make The Age of Anxiety a vitally important book for our time.
Extremism-and the suspicion and hatred it engenders-may be Joe McCarthy's most lasting legacy . . . For these and other reasons, while McCarthy and the leading players of his time- Truman and Acheson, Eisenhower and Nixon, the Kennedy brothers and LBJ, Cohn and Schine, Stalin and Mao-have long since passed from the scene, McCarthyism remains a story without an end. -f rom the book.