Magazine article The New American

SALUTING THE SOCIETY: Longtime John Birch Society President John F. McManus' Book about the Society Explains Why and How the Society Came into Being, as Well as the Campaigns by It and against It

Magazine article The New American

SALUTING THE SOCIETY: Longtime John Birch Society President John F. McManus' Book about the Society Explains Why and How the Society Came into Being, as Well as the Campaigns by It and against It

Article excerpt

The John Birch Society: Its History Recounted By Someone Who Was There, by John F. McManus, Wakefield, Massachusetts: Overview Productions, 2018, 472 pages, hardcover.

For more than half a century, John F. "Jack" McManus has been a central figure in The John Birch Society, and in America's fight to preserve morality, national sovereignty, and limited, constitutional government. Following his honorable discharge as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1960, he worked as an electronics engineer before accepting a position on the Birch Society's staff in 1966 as a field Coordinator for five New England states. In 1968, Jack was transferred to the Society's headquarters office, which was then located in Belmont, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Thus began his close working relationship and long friendship with Society founder Robert Welch.

As the Society's national director of public relations (and president from 1991-2016), McManus served for decades as the public face of the organization, appearing on numerous radio and television programs, as well as in speaking engagements throughout the country. His weekly newspaper column The Birch Log, together with his six books and countless pamphlets and articles, established his reputation as an authoritative spokesman on a wide array of topics. His famous presentation An Overview of Our World, which debuted in 1972 as a two-hour filmstrip and was later released in an updated video format, has introduced several generations of Americans to a proper understanding of the political spectrum, the basic principles of American government, and the subterranean subversive forces that are striving to undermine our civilization and our freedom. His similar Overview of America, a 28-minute DVD released in 2006, has joined the original Overview as a hugely popular civics lesson on many Internet sites.

Now serving as president emeritus of the Society, Jack McManus continues to keep an active writing and speaking schedule. Among those living today, none has had a longer and more intimate association with the founding generation of the JBS and the organization's membership at large. That being the case, McManus is the person most naturally qualified to present a history of the Society, including a behind-the-scenes look at many of the events that have shaped our modern world.

Nearly 500 pages in length, The John Birch Society: Its History Recounted By Someone Who Was There is a treasure trove of information not only on the JBS, but also on the crucial battles and key personages of our age. McManus has chosen to structure his book chronologically, devoting the first five chapters to a brief biography of Robert Welch, then, beginning with the launch of the Society in 1958, devoting succeeding chapters to a year-by-year account of the organization's campaigns, challenges, and accomplishments.

When Robert Welch founded the JBS, communist revolutions were sweeping the world and Soviet spy rings and agents of influence were being exposed in the highest levels of our national government. China and the countries of Eastern Europe had fallen to communism, and Soviet-backed movements were surging throughout Latin America. Alger Hiss, Klaus Fuchs, Harry Dexter White, the Rosenbergs, Nathan Silvermaster, Lauchlin Currie, and other communist traitors operating inside federal agencies had inflicted incalculable harm on this nation and hundreds of millions of victims worldwide. Sensible people were rightly alarmed and angered, but the leftists in the media, academia, and the political arena portrayed this eminently reasonable concern as paranoia and extremism. Anti-communists were being subjected to media smears, while the mass-media organs defended and, as often as not, lionized the communists.

Welch fully expected that he and the organization he was founding would be subjected to the same type of vicious smear tactics that had greeted Senator Joseph McCarthy, Congressman Martin Dies, and other anti-communist patriots. …

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