This image is the cover for the book Red Apple

Red Apple

The history of what six men endured during the post-World War II Red Scare in New York City.

From the late 1940s through the 1950s, McCarthyism disfigured the American political landscape. Under the altar of anticommunism, domestic Cold War crusaders undermined civil liberties, curtailed equality before the law, and tarnished the ideals of American democracy. In order to preserve freedom, they jettisoned some of its tenets. Congressional committees worked in tandem, although not necessarily in collusion, with the FBI, law firms, university administrations, publishing houses, television networks, movie studios, and a legion of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels to target “subversive” individuals.

Exploring the human consequences of the widespread paranoia that gripped a nation, Red Apple presents the international and domestic context for the experiences of these individuals: the House Un-American Activities Committee, hearings of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, resulting in the incarceration of its chairman, Dr. Edward Barsky, and its executive board; the academic freedom cases of two New York University professors, Lyman Bradley and Edwin Burgum, culminating in their dismissal from the university; the blacklisting of the communist writer Howard Fast and his defection from American communism; the visit of an anguished Dimitri Shostakovich to New York in the spring of 1949; and the attempts by O. John Rogge, the Committee’s lawyer, to find a “third way” in the quest for peace, which led detractors to question which side he was on.

Examining real-life experiences at the “ground level,” Deery explores how these six individuals experienced, responded to, and suffered from one of the most savage assaults on civil liberties in American history. Their collective stories illuminate the personal costs of holding dissident political beliefs in the face of intolerance and moral panic that is as relevant today as it was seventy years ago.

Praise for Red Apple

“Thoroughly researched, well documented, and detailed . . . A compelling read and a valuable contribution to the Cold War historiography.” —H-Net Reviews

“Reminds us of the devastating impact that domestic anticommunism has on its victims at the height of the Cold War . . . . Red Apple makes an important contribution to the literature on domestic anticommunism by turning our attention to New York City.” —Clarence Taylor, Baruch College, American Historical Review

“A welcome reminder that the reactionary-inspired, fear-based politics of six decades ago can be a salutary subject to consider in 2015.” —Henry Innes MacAdam, Left History

Phillip Deery

Phillip Deery is Professor of History at Victoria University, Melbourne, where he teaches American and Cold War history.

Fordham University Press