The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America

Synopsis

Historian Richard Fried, author of Nightmare in Red, ploughs new ground with this exploration of the often absurd lengths the average ctitizen in McCarthyite America went to help shore up patriotism and fend off the threat of the Red Menace.

Excerpt

This book is about some of the ways Americans sought to nerve feuow-citizens for the long struggle against communism abroad and at home. We know much about the "hard" side of the cold-war political culture--the anti-communism expressed in calls to answer the question "Are you now or have you ever been. . .," the lists of suspects and victims famous and obscure, the checklists of traits by which Communists betrayed themselves, and the ways anti-communism crept into facets of culture such as entertainment and intellectual discourse.

We know less about Cold War America's "soft" side, about the diurnal aspects of life in the period. School children did not "Duck and Cover" from atomic attack every school day. Adults may have worried more about car payments than Bolshevism--though doubtless many would have liked this priority reversed. How did anti-communism settle into people's lives at times HUAC or McCarthy or lesser imitators were not in the news? We remember volcanic eruptions, but what of the fine dust? We need to know what was in the Metro or Women's sections as well as on the front page. How did Americans, when not consumed by Alger Hiss or Stalin or Korea, articulate their concern about communism and translate it into patriotism?

It is important to discover how we expressed broader fears about what it was that communism menaced and how we articulated what made communism's target--ourselves--so vulnerable and, indeed, so laggard in response to danger. There were psychological theories about where Commies came from (McCarthy's "bright young men . . . born with silver . . .

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