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Red Apple

Communism and McCarthyism in Cold War New York

Phillip Deery

Publication Year: 2014

Set against a backdrop of mounting anti-communism, Red Apple documents the personal, physical, and mental effects of McCarthyism on six political activists with ties to New York City. From the late 1940s through the 1950s, McCarthyism disfigured the American political landscape. Under the altar of anticommunism, domestic Cold War crusaders undermined civil liberties, curtailed equality before the law, and tarnished the ideals of American democracy. In order to preserve freedom, they jettisoned some of its tenets. Congressional committees worked in tandem, although not necessarily in collusion, with the FBI, law firms, university administrations, publishing houses, television networks, movie studios, and a legion of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels to target "subversive" individuals. Exploring the human consequences of the widespread paranoia that gripped a nation, Red Apple presents the international and domestic context for the experiences of these individuals: the House Un-American Activities Committee, hearings of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, resulting in the incarceration of its chairman, Dr. Edward Barsky, and its executive board; the academic freedom cases of two New York University professors, Lyman Bradley and Edwin Burgum, culminating in their dismissal from the university; the blacklisting of the communist writer Howard Fast and his defection from American communism; the visit of an anguished Dimitri Shostakovich to New York in the spring of 1949; and the attempts by O. John Rogge, the Committee's lawyer, to find a "third way" in the quest for peace, which led detractors to question which side he was on. Examining real-life experiences at the "ground level," Deery explores how these six individuals experienced, responded to, and suffered from one of the most savage assaults on civil liberties in American history. Their collective stories illuminate the personal costs of holding dissident political beliefs in the face of intolerance and moral panic that is as relevant today as it was seventy years ago.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-10

On November 13, 1950, a fifty-six-year-old woman waved goodbye to a handful of supporters, surrendered to the custody of a U.S. marshal, and was committed to the District of Columbia jail in Washington. She was then incarcerated at the Federal Reformatory for Women in Alderston, West Virginia, for a period of three months. Helen Reid...

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1. The Doctor

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pp. 11-37

On May 4, 1949, Dr. Edward K. Barsky received some reassuring news. His reappointment as surgeon at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, where he had worked since 1923, had been confirmed for another two years. Twelve months later, he received some disturbing news that changed his life forever: he learned that the U.S. Supreme Court...

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2. The Writer

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pp. 38-73

During the early years of the Cold War, Howard Fast, born in New York City in 1914, was one of America’s most celebrated novelists. Until his resignation in 1957, Howard Fast was the single most important literary figure in the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA).1 The first of his sixty-five novels was published in 1933, when...

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3. The Professors

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pp. 74-111

On Monday, April 16, 1951, Professor Lyman Bradley received a telegram from James L. Madden, the Acting Chancellor of New York University. It informed Bradley that the University Council had resolved “to remove you from the faculty of New York University.”1 We do not know which emotion Bradley most felt when he read the telegram that...

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4. The Composer

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pp. 112-133

At New York’s opulent Waldorf Astoria hotel in March 1949, the internationally famous Soviet composer Dimitri Shostakovich experienced “the worst moment in my life.”1 His nadir occurred when he was asked publicly if he supported Pravda’s recent denunciation of several Russian composers.2 Forty years later, the American playwright Arthur...

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5. The Lawyer

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pp. 134-158

For three long years, a New York lawyer, O. John Rogge, assiduously defended the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC). Although he could not save its executive board from the federal penitentiary, the reputation of Rogge as a lawyer with a high public profile and an established record of activism in both legal and political circles remained...

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pp. 159-164

"The Un-American hearings were held last week,” wrote Jessica Mitford on December 10, 1953. “You can’t imagine how revolting they are. They dragged about 100 people into it . . . just about every kind of person you can imagine.”1 Mitford, a member of the Communist Party in California who had already appeared before HUAC in September 1951...


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pp. 165-234


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pp. 235-246


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pp. 247-254

E-ISBN-13: 9780823254484
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823253685
Print-ISBN-10: 0823253686

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 6 b/w illustrations
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: Cloth

OCLC Number: 870969977
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Red Apple

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Anti-communist movements -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
  • Political persecution -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
  • Anti-communist movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Political persecution -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee.
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- History -- 20th century.
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