Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe

Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy This is a well written comprehensive biography on Joe McCarthy It is long almost 500 pages, but overall, engagingly written so it is not a boring slog to get through It reads much faster than 480 pages.In general, this is a straightforward chronological biography, starting with McCarthy s childhood on a farm, early years as a lawyer and then judge in Wisconsin, and his time in the Marines The rest of the book focuses on his election to senator, the start of his red baiting focus in a Wheelin This is a well written comprehensive biography on Joe McCarthy It is long almost 500 pages, but overall, engagingly written so it is not a boring slog to get through It reads much faster than 480 pages.In general, this is a straightforward chronological biography, starting with McCarthy s childhood on a farm, early years as a lawyer and then judge in Wisconsin, and his time in the Marines The rest of the book focuses on his election to senator, the start of his red baiting focus in a Wheeling, WV speech that was almost about public housing , his meteoric rise, his various victims and targets, and his inevitable crash There is also a lot of ink devoted to his two erstwhile aids Roy Cohn and David Schine, and an insightful chapter on Joe s enablers everyone from his Texas money backers, Cohn and Schine, and Eisenhower who never stood up to McCarthy among others I was unfamiliar with McCarthy apart from the standard high school history lesson so I really learned a lot from this tome.Tye writes in a straightforward and engaging manner He does what he can to show McCarthy in a well rounded light not just as the historical villain he is generally portrayed to be I wouldn t say he is sympathetic he generally is not His below the belt tactics were developed and honed early and were vicious, often destroying lives Tye goes through several cases where people caught in McCarthy s crosshairs committed suicide He also makes it clear that often McCarthy didn t feel a personal animus towards his opponents he seemed to consider it all part of the political game and was confused at chilly receptions he received by his sparring partners once the lights were off.I will say, though much of it does not show McCarthy as sympathetic, there are times where Tye made me feel sorry for McCarthy Once the spell was broken and McCarthy was an outcast and shunned by the cowards who kowtowed to him and the sycophants who sucked up to him, Tye s description of him alone and confused were genuinely moving There is a scene where McCarthy is kicked out of an event and he is caught crying in a coat room that legitimately made me tear up.One feature I really liked in this tome were the introduction and epilogue chapters which puts McCarthy in the larger American context of demagogues and demagoguery, including a discussion on Trumpism I imagine the comparisons between the two will earn this book some negative reviews, but it puts Trump s rise in the context of Huey Long, Ma and Pa Ferguson, Father Coughlin, and Joe McCarthy In between, the themes of anti intellectualism and anger against elites and rhetoric about real Americans in McCarty s arsenal show that some things in American politics do seem eternal.The main criticism of the book I have is that it is heavy on the footnotes, which, if you actually read them, makes for choppy reading I generally found the footnotes informative, so I liked reading them, but you have to jump up and down the page Also Tye can really bury some explosive material in the footnotes for example a paragraph of speculation that Joe McCarthy was a pedophile That was a jaw dropper of a footnote, but is never acknowledged or followed up on in the book.Overall, it s an interesting, thorough, and well written book If you are looking to learnabout Joe McCarthy, this is obviously a good selection But if you are also looking to learnabout the tactics of demagoguery, the real damage it can do, and the effects McCarthy s particular tactics formed and influenced what came after, this is also a good, but chilling choice as you can see history beginning to repeat itself in some ways Joseph McCarthy polarized a generation, and there are many who see parallels in our time Tye s book is exceptionally well written and provides a balanced view of the late senator s life and controversies surrounding the rise and fall of McCarthyism in the 1950 s From humble beginnings to dominating the news to obscurity and death all within 48 years, McCarthy is a paradox in his humanity, faith and amicability on one hand and his cruelty, lies and deceit on the other A worth while and enterta Joseph McCarthy polarized a generation, and there are many who see parallels in our time Tye s book is exceptionally well written and provides a balanced view of the late senator s life and controversies surrounding the rise and fall of McCarthyism in the 1950 s From humble beginnings to dominating the news to obscurity and death all within 48 years, McCarthy is a paradox in his humanity, faith and amicability on one hand and his cruelty, lies and deceit on the other A worth while and entertaining read Larry Tye s Demagogue is the first full biography of Joe McCarthy in almost two decades Tye Bobby Kennedy The Making of a Liberal Icon claims some advantages over past biographers, including the release of Cold War government files, Russian sources and access to McCarthy s private papers, which allow him to present arounded portrait of Tailgunner Joe He presents young McCarthy as a genial, hardworking young man, a good if often lazy student, an able attorney and, most surprisingly, de Larry Tye s Demagogue is the first full biography of Joe McCarthy in almost two decades Tye Bobby Kennedy The Making of a Liberal Icon claims some advantages over past biographers, including the release of Cold War government files, Russian sources and access to McCarthy s private papers, which allow him to present arounded portrait of Tailgunner Joe He presents young McCarthy as a genial, hardworking young man, a good if often lazy student, an able attorney and, most surprisingly, defends his military record as honorable despite McCarthy s later exaggerations But once McCarthy reaches Washington, no amount of fairness can rescue his reputation his violent bullying coupled with an odd tendency to commiserate with his victims afterwards, as if politics were merely a sport , alcoholism and utter indifference to fairness and due process destroys any efforts to rehabilitate him Refuting conservatives who claim revelations about Alger Hiss, etc vindicated McCarthy, Tye in fact shows that Venona did no such thing Soviet espionage networks in the United States had already been deactivated or destroyed years before McCarthy came along, and only a handful of the hundreds McCarthy accused were even communists, let alone spies The book, then, largely affirms the typical picture of McCarthy while adding some fresh details, such as folding in accounts of the homophobic Lavender Scare, McCarthy s relationship with phony professional witness Harvey Matusow and the bureaucrats driven to suicide alongside the familiar stories of henchman Roy Cohn, victims Owen Latti and Annie Lee Moss and his archnemesis, Joseph Welch There s also a heavy focus on those who abetted, or refused to confront McCarthy s rise opportunistic Republicans, right wing millionaires, Catholic reactionaries, liberals afraid to seem soft on Communism, reporters insistent on seeming balanced towards an unbalanced figure, even Dwight Eisenhower, whom Tye scathingly characterizes as the enabler in chief for refusing either to directly confront or undercut the Senator The weakest parts of the book explicitly connect McCarthy with Donald Trump, admittedly a tempting comparison, considering both men s ties to Roy Cohn astute readers surely don t need this spelled out for them Still, the new information and Tye s lucid, biting narrative make the book a worthwhile introduction to America s most memorable Red baiter Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye is a comprehensive and well written biography that reads almost like a novel, albeit a dystopian one at times.I ll be honest, when I started the book I was anticipating almost 500 pages of interesting information but, like many long nonfiction books, presented in a rather dry manner This is a period of American anti intellectual history I find quite intriguing so I was ready to just deal with it But this book is engaging Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye is a comprehensive and well written biography that reads almost like a novel, albeit a dystopian one at times.I ll be honest, when I started the book I was anticipating almost 500 pages of interesting information but, like many long nonfiction books, presented in a rather dry manner This is a period of American anti intellectual history I find quite intriguing so I was ready to just deal with it But this book is engaging and kept me wanting to readNo easy task when dealing with a figure that can stir so many strong, negative emotions The writing is part of what made me round my rating up.The other aspect that cinched the rating is that much of this information is newly released, which means no matter how much we have read about McCarthy or the period, there is new information here Any book that can present new material from primary sources, and in an engaging manner, deserves a solid rating.There will be a few points where the reader will feel a small bit of sympathy for McCarthy That is a credit to Tye presenting such a vile human being in his full humanity and not just the inhumanity he showed to his fellow humans and countrymen But that sympathy is short lived and, for me, quickly overcome Karma can be a, well, you know, especially when a cowardly bully loses the ability to bully Then they become a shell of the person they were before, which was a shell of a real person Yeah, I despise McCarthy and what he helped to do to this country, and I don t apologize for it.We get glimpses at both McCarthy s personal life and the closed door behind the scenes wheeling and dealings on Capital Hill While revisiting the events can stir anger and frustration, Tye keeps us focused on the larger arc of the book, namely McCarthy s life in total, which keeps us looking ahead as well as behind.By ahead we also mean all the way to the newest bully on the block, little Donnie Trump There is a highly publicized connection between McCarthy and Trump, one pathetic man named Roy Cohn Between Trump s connection with Cohn and Roger Stone, we can easily see what type of snake Trump is part McCarthy, part Nixon, and part feces.I highly recommend this to those interested in this specific period of US history, as well as readers who enjoy well written biographies I think that even those on the far right who might still find some redeeming quality in McCarthy will find enough here to keep them reading, though beware, at almost 500 pages it is far longer than the Dr Suess books you re used to.Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley Fromt1950 to 1954 McCarthy inspired by early cold war paranoia ruined lives, blackballed people and went on a demagogic campaign riding a red scare to popularity and power America has had many political scares and many scumbucket politicians to stoke the fears and demonize an enemy McCarthy wasn t the first and he wasn t the last Of course, the right is much better at this stuff in the USA than the left usually because it has rich friends hence the biggest microphone I look at the second red Fromt1950 to 1954 McCarthy inspired by early cold war paranoia ruined lives, blackballed people and went on a demagogic campaign riding a red scare to popularity and power America has had many political scares and many scumbucket politicians to stoke the fears and demonize an enemy McCarthy wasn t the first and he wasn t the last Of course, the right is much better at this stuff in the USA than the left usually because it has rich friends hence the biggest microphone I look at the second red scare as the first tentative push back of the left after the new deal, a foundation of anticommunism that would serve it well as a base throughout the cold war and long after to rollback any progress especially on the labor and inequality front McCarthy was excessive, a bully and liar but the campaign continued by the right sometimes with some responsibility but very often not McCarthy is a bogeyman of going to far but the same demons in the body politic he summoned are still active today This portrait of Senator Joe McCarthy is thorough, enlightening, and dramatic, as Tye manages to capture every contradiction, organize every inconsistency, and showcase every parallel to modern politics A perfect fit for those who want to understand today by studying yesterday This was an ARC from Library Journal s Day of Dialogue in Boston, where Tye graciously signed my book with a broken arm, generously sharing stories of his research with all of us. I really enjoyed this book, while I had at first had my doubts because Joe McCarthy, the subject, is a horrible person.The author has produced a definitive biography, as the marketing blurb says It covers in great detail every element of McCarthy s life, and deeply documented from a variety sources, including personal interviews, contemporary magazines and newspapers, and a trove of recently released material from McCarthy himself I liked it farthan I expected, and felt compelled to ke I really enjoyed this book, while I had at first had my doubts because Joe McCarthy, the subject, is a horrible person.The author has produced a definitive biography, as the marketing blurb says It covers in great detail every element of McCarthy s life, and deeply documented from a variety sources, including personal interviews, contemporary magazines and newspapers, and a trove of recently released material from McCarthy himself I liked it farthan I expected, and felt compelled to keep reading because there was always a question of what new outrage McCarthy might commit.Another element of the book that works well is that the author touches on the notion of bullies being part of the American political landscape McCarthy, of course, is one of the most notable bullies in our history Other bullies are briefly discussed throughout I felt the balance of this these was right, and not too overwhelming.Some advice The main text is is about 500 pages long, and there s roughly 100 additional pages of sources If you re looking for a quick read or an overview, this may not be the book you are looking for 4 stars This was a thorough and excellently researched biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy of the Red Scare and McCarthyism fame The book details McCarthy s humble beginnings as one of seven children in an Irish Catholic farming family in Grand Chute, WI, his service in the Marines during WWII, and his early bids for political power prior to becoming an elected U.S Senator from Wisconsin in 1948 Fun fact McCarthy actually started out as a New Deal Democrat before becoming a Republica 4 stars This was a thorough and excellently researched biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy of the Red Scare and McCarthyism fame The book details McCarthy s humble beginnings as one of seven children in an Irish Catholic farming family in Grand Chute, WI, his service in the Marines during WWII, and his early bids for political power prior to becoming an elected U.S Senator from Wisconsin in 1948 Fun fact McCarthy actually started out as a New Deal Democrat before becoming a Republican he learned that being a Democrat was less likely to get him elected in Wisconsin One thing that is clear from McCarthy s early life and career prior to becoming a senator as biographer Larry Tye portrays him is that McCarthy was always on the lookout for the next big thing He comes across as quite Machiavellian in nature, willing to do whatever it takes to seize and hold on to political power He didn t have an ultimate consuming vision that he attempted to bring to fruition, just one power grab after another which, in a way, makes American fascination with and support of him all theterrifying.As a junior senator in 1950, McCarthy gave a now infamous speech during a Lincoln Day dinner in Wheeling, WV that launched his political career as a Communist witch hunter or anti Communist crusader, if you prefer , claiming that he held in his hand a list of 205 names of people who worked in the State Department with known ties to Communism There was no list, the speech was all rhetorical bluster and showmanship designed to whip the audience into an emotional frenzy But McCarthy had capitalized on an issue that had Americans very nervous given the early days of the Cold War and the highly public cases of accused Communist spies Alger Hiss in 1948 and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1951 Thus began his short reign of terror as the most well known anti Communist in the United States perhaps even in the world For about 18 months Jan 1953 June 1954 , McCarthy was chair of a Senate subcommittee that investigated individuals with alleged Communist ties During this time, working with his right hand man Roy Cohn and assistant G David Schine, McCarthy called 546 witnesses, held 445 preliminary inquiries, and 157 investigations, ruining dozens of lives and manypeople s career prospects with his unfounded claims, rhetorical bullying, and invocation of the phrase Fifth Amendment Communist He was finally brought down by the televised Army McCarthy hearings in spring 1954 and officially censured and condemned by his colleagues in the Senate in Sept 1954 After this public downfall and loss of power, McCarthy becameandreliant on alcohol and became withdrawn and depressed, dying in May 1957 at age 48 of severe alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens While some parts of this book were slower going and I wished Tye had written in anarrative style, I learned SO MUCH about McCarthy and found the book fairly engaging overall There are also extensive footnotes throughout the text that give the reader eveninformation about McCarthy, including explanations of some sources that are at odds with one another Tye was the first person granted access to McCarthy s personal papers, archived at his alma mater Marquette University McCarthy s widow Jean Kerr donated these papers to Marquette under the condition that they were sealed for 50 years, which became open in 2017 Tye makes good use of these archival records, particularly in a chapter on McCarthy, Cohn, and Schine s closed door investigations Although the size and heft of the book is somewhat daunting, it is not quite as long as it seems From about page 485 to the end of the book consists entirely of notes, an extensive bibliography, and the book s index.I would recommend this book if you want to learnabout McCarthyism, the Red Scare, anti Communist fervor in the United States, or how demagogues think and act Tye draws parallels in the introduction and epilogue between McCarthy and Donald Trump, giving us reason to hope that, as with most demagogues, Trump like McCarthy before him will eventually be the maker of his own undoing 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 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 Fromto , 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 inOnly 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 Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy is a biography of Joe McCarthy, a senator from the state of Wisconsin Larry Tye is an American non fiction author and journalist known for his biographies of notable Americans wrote this biography.Joseph Raymond McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957 Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the Unite Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy is a biography of Joe McCarthy, a senator from the state of Wisconsin Larry Tye is an American non fiction author and journalist known for his biographies of notable Americans wrote this biography.Joseph Raymond McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957 Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread communist subversion.In this lengthy biography, Tye looks to correct misconceptions large and small, including what actually took place behind closed doors of the 1953 1954 Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and how McCarthy could be incongruously generous to those he had just publicly upbraided.Analyzing the origins of McCarthyism, Tye describes McCarthy s last minute decision in 1950 to substitute a talk on housing policy for a speech alleging communist infiltration of the U.S state department, and President Truman s 1947 Loyalty Order, which mandated checks on nearly five million federal employees and applicants and identified 299 subversive organizations, including the Jewish Culture Society.The book s most provocative sections, including a posthumous diagnosis of bipolar disorder and a roundup of claims that noted homophobe McCarthy was gay, add color but lack definitive proof of these theories Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy is written and research rather well Drawing from a previously unavailable archive of McCarthy s unscripted writings and correspondence, Tye wrote this sure handed account of the rise and fall of the Wisconsin senator Though Tye occasionally veers into minutiae, he maintains a brisk pace throughout The result is a searing and informative portrait of the man and his specific brand of self aggrandizing demagoguery.All in all, Demagogue The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy is a timely examination of a would be savior whose name remains a byword for demagoguery

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