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Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt

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by Michael J. Ybarra
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Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt by Michael J. Ybarra

IN THIS SWEEPING, monumental work of American history,
journalist Michael J. Ybarra tells the story of Senator Pat
McCarran's extraordinary career for the first time, and he vividly
re-creates a passionate era of politics that reshaped America and
echoes to this day. Brilliantly researched and energetically
written, Washington Gone Crazy makes a significant new
contribution to our understanding of the United States in the
twentieth century.

McCarran was one of the most shrewd and powerful — and
vindictive — lawmakers ever to sit in Congress. Joe McCarthy
gave his name to the cause of zealous anti-Communism, but it
was McCarran, a lifelong Democrat, who actually wrote the laws,
held the hearings, and bullied the State and Justice Departments
into doing his bidding. McCarran was consumed with looking for
Communists in Washington and his obsession almost consumed
the country.

The son of illiterate Irish immigrants, McCarran was born in 1876
in Nevada, where he grew up to be a sheepherder who taught
himself the law around the campfire, becoming a legendary
defense attorney and judge. After struggling for years against the
local Democratic political machine, McCarran rode Franklin
Roosevelt's landslide into the U.S. Senate in 1932 — and broke
ranks with Roosevelt during the New Deal's first week. But it was
President Harry Truman who would become McCarran's real
nemesis. A master of parliamentary procedure, McCarran turned
his Senate Judiciary Committee into a virtual government within
the government. McCarran worked with J. Edgar Hoover to
undermine the Truman Administration before McCarthy even got
to Washington. He created the most far-reaching anti-sedition law
ever enacted in America (the McCarran Internal Security Act),
which filled Ellis Island with immigrants alleged to be subversives
and set up concentration camps to hold suspected traitors in the
case of a national emergency. McCarran's Senate Internal Security
Subcommittee cowed the State Department into sacrificing the
careers of diplomats accused of helping the Communists take over
China. McCarran virtually blackmailed more than one attorney
general into carrying out his policies. From Capitol Hill to the
United Nations, from union halls to Hollywood, McCarran's wrath
broke careers and lives and ultimately, in a self-destructive fit of
pique, cost his party control of the Senate. Ybarra's even-handed
narrative shows that McCarran was ultimately half right: There
really were Communists in Washington — but it was the hunt for
them that did the real damage.

Featuring a new introduction by Sam Tanenhaus.

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Ebook Details
Pages: 818
Size: 4.3 MB
Publisher: 212 Books
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9780786756292 (DRM-EPUB)

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This product is listed in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Political Science > Political Ideologies > Communism & Socialism
Nonfiction > History > United States > 20th Century
Nonfiction > Political Science > Government > National

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