For Both Cross and Flag: Catholic Action, Anti-Catholicism, and National Security Politics in World War II San Francisco

Article excerpt

For Both Cross and Flag: Catholic Action, Anti-Catholicism, and National Security Politics in World War II San Francisco. By William Issel. (Philadelphia:Temple University Press. 2010 Pp. vii, 206. $40.00. ISBN 9781-439-90028-4.)

In For Both Cross and Flag William Issel accomplishes what he set out to do; he "restore [s] our appreciation of the impact of European political and religious rivalries in the political cultures of American cities in the first half of the twentieth century" (p. 2) by telling the story of Sylvester Andriano, a Catholic, Italian American lawyer living in San Francisco. Andriano' s story warrants attention, because in 1942 he was declared a security risk and prohibited from living on the West Coast by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and California's Tenney Committee (TC), largely in response to the testimony of members of the Communist Party. Issel first encountered Andriano' s story when researching "competition between the Communist Party and the Catholic Church in San Francisco in the 1930s and 1940s" (p. 6). After working his way through the collections of papers, correspondence, and testimony related to the case, he concluded that Andriano was innocent of the charges against him and decided to tell his story. Issel wanted not only to correct the record but also "to demonstrate how international and national events impinged on the political culture of a major American city from World War I to World War II " (p. 6) and how "Andriano s exclusion [from the West Coast] derived also from his militant Catholic activism" in promoting Catholic Action (p. 5). As seen, Andriano' s story is a complex one that encompasses religion, culture, immigration, World War II, and politics at the local, national, and international levels.

Beginning with the introduction, which presents an overview of the case, Issel skillfully guides the reader through the layers of Andriano' s story and presents his central point: that anti-Catholicism played a key role in the decision of the Communist Party and anti-Catholic fellow Italian immigrants to target him. …


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