Our friends at Temple Beth Isael host a Sunday Seminar with author Larry Tye, discussing his acclaimed new book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. This Zoom event is free. You can register HERE.
The definitive biography of the most dangerous demagogue in American history, based on first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings. Larry Tye was a longtime journalist — at the Boston Globe, Anniston Star, and Louisville Courier-Journal — and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. Tye’s books have ranged from biographies of PR pioneer Edward L. Bernays, Negro Leagues legend Satchel Paige, and Superman, to explorations of the Jewish diaspora, the Pullman porters, and ECT, the most stigmatized treatment in medicine. Tye runs a Boston-based fellowship program for health reporters.
More About the Book: In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy. We still use "McCarthyism" to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander. From 1950 to 1954, McCarthy destroyed many careers and even entire lives, whipping the nation into a frenzy of paranoia, accusation, loyalty oaths, and terror. When the public finally turned on him, he came crashing down, dying of alcoholism in 1957. Only now, through bestselling author Larry Tye's exclusive look at the senator's records, can the full story be told.
Demagogue is a masterful portrait of a human being capable of immense evil, yet beguiling charm. McCarthy was a tireless worker and a genuine war hero. His ambitions knew few limits. Neither did his socializing, his drinking, nor his gambling. When he finally made it to the Senate, he flailed around in search of an agenda and angered many with his sharp elbows and lack of integrity. Finally, after three years, he hit upon anti-communism. By recklessly charging treason against everyone from George Marshall to much of the State Department, he became the most influential and controversial man in America. His chaotic, meteoric rise is a gripping and terrifying object lesson for us all. Yet his equally sudden fall from fame offers reason for hope that, given the rope, most American demagogues eventually hang themselves.
"This well-crafted, deeply researched study of Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism reveals the awful consequences of demagoguery in America, and its toll on our democracy. Tye provides not only untold history, but an essential primer for the times of Trump. We cannot ignore the lessons revealed in Larry Tye's narrative.
--John W. Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel
"Larry Tye's deeply reported Demagogue accomplishes two essential tasks at once. As first-rate biographies do, it lifts Joe McCarthy from stereotype to vivid flesh, while also using the past to illuminate the present.
--David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father
The definitive biography of the most dangerous demagogue in American history, based on first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings
In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage i