No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities
Ellen Schrecker's award-winning and highly-acclaimed No Ivory Tower recounts the previously untold story of how the anti-Communist furor during the 1950's affected the nation's colleges and universities. She describes how the hundreds of professors called before the investigating committees of the McCarthy era confronted the same dilemma most other witnesses had to face, deciding whether to cooperate with the committees and "name names" or to refuse such cooperation and risk losing their jobs.
Drawing on previously untouched archives and dozens of personal interviews, Schrecker re-creates the climate of fear that pervaded American campuses, as the nation's educational leaders responded to the national obsession with Communism as well as their own fears about the damage that notoriety might do to the reputations of their institutions. As a result, firings occurred everywhere--at Ivy League universities, large state schools and small private colleges--and the presence of an unofficial but effective blacklist meant that most of these unfrocked professors could not find regular college teaching jobs in the U.S. until well after the McCarthyist furor had begun to subside in the 1960s. No Ivory Tower helps to explain how the McCarthyism, which many people even then saw as a betrayal of this nation's most cherished ideals, gained so much power.
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