Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

By:  Larry Tye

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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. 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.

Available Resources

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328960023

  • ISBN-10: 1328960021

  • Pages: 608

  • Price: $15.99

  • Publication Date: 05/05/2020

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Larry Tye
Author

Larry Tye

LARRY TYE is the best-selling author of Bobby Kennedy and Satchel, as well as Superman, The Father of Spin, Home Lands, and Rising from the Rails, and co-author, with Kitty Dukakis, of Shock. Previously an award-winning reporter and national writer at the Boston Globe and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, he now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship. He lives in Massachusetts.
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  • reviews

    “In an age when we see the resurrection of Senator Joe McCarthy’s tactics — exaggeration and lies, guilt by association, the smearing of political opponents, and above all the acquiescence of enablers who know better — Larry Tye’s Demagogue is a gripping, essential read. Drawing on records newly unsealed after sixty years, Tye explains how McCarthy’s fear-mongering caught fire, offering timely insight into the rise of bullies and what is required to defeat them.” 

       —Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the United Nations and New York Times bestselling author of The Education of an Idealist 

     

    “Larry Tye’s Demagogue nails the defining biography of Joe McCarthy. I grew up a Cold War kid watching it all on television. I thought I knew it all, but Tye makes it real. To understand Donald Trump, you have to understand Joe McCarthy first, and Tye’s your guide.” 

        —John Kerry, former Secretary of State 

      

    “Tye has written a fabulous, can't-put-down examination of one of the most dangerous politicians in American history. But Demagogue is more than a biography—it's a warning of the peril we are facing.” 

        — William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense 

      

    “Tye takes us, step by step, as one of America’s most dangerous right-wing populists learns how to use fear and deception to vault his way into power and threaten our country’s most basic rights. The lessons for today are all too clear.” 

        —Steven Levitsky, coauthor of How Democracies Die 

      

    “Fueled by a trove of newly uncovered documents, Larry Tye charts the legacy of Joe McCarthy, reviled master of the political smear, through the malign tutelage of McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn and directly to Donald J. Trump.  A must read.” 

        —Richard Ben-Veniste, Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor and author of The Emperor’s New Clothes 

     

    “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

Available Resources

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328960023

  • ISBN-10: 1328960021

  • Pages: 608

  • Price: $15.99

  • Publication Date: 05/05/2020

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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