Un-American Activities: The Trials of William Remington

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Oxford University Press, USA, Jun 9, 1994 - Communist trials - 393 pages
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In 1948, William W. Remington was one of the bright young men in the Truman administration. He was tall and handsome, a product of Dartmouth and Columbia. From 1940 on, he had risen through government ranks, serving on wartime boards, the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and eventually as a major official in the Department of Commerce, with a promising future ahead. By 1954, however, Remington was dead--assassinated in his cell by a team of inmates in a high-security Federal prison.In Un-American Activities, historian Gary May tells the fascinating story of William Remington--a story of intrigue, injustice, government corruption, and anti-Communist hysteria. May labored for eight years in reconstructing Remington's case, searching through FBI files, government documents, and waging an epic battle against then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Guiliani to become the first historian to obtain access to grand jury records. The result is a brilliant account of one man's tragic odyssey and a government run amok. Remington's future collapsed in 1948, when he was charged with being a Communist and a Soviet spy. The accuser was Elizabeth Bentley, an admitted ex-Communist herself and a former courier for Soviet spymasters. Remington's life fell into a whirlpool, as he fought government improprieties, illegalities, and the assumption he was guilty. Cleared by government loyalty boards, he was indicted by a grand jury--whose foreman was secretly helping Elizabeth Bentley prepare her memoirs. Remington suffered through two trials for perjury, and the chief witness against him was his own embittered ex-wife. He was convicted and sentenced to the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where his reputation as a Communist preceded him. But May's account also offers fascinating insight into the depth of Soviet penetration into wartime America: As he follows Remington's life, from the radical circles at Dartmouth and the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s through his Washington career, he finds that Remington may well have been guilty of the charges against him.Gary May is one of the leading historians writing about postwar America. His first book, China Scapegoat, won the Allan Nevins Prize and was hailed as "as well as a novel, as powerful as a good film" by the The Los Angeles Times. Here he brings his analytical and narrative skills to bear on one of the forgotten stories of the McCarthy era, uncovering a gripping tale of espionage, corruption, and personal tragedy.
 

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UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES: The Trials of William Remington

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A revealing chronicle of the life of William W. Remington, a casualty of the McCarthy era's anti-Communist fervor. Remington entered Dartmouth in 1934 at the age of 16 and was a promising economist ... Read full review

Contents

1 Present in the Flesh
3
2 The New StudentDartmouth 19341936
15
3 Enfant TerribleKnoxville 19361937
26
4 A Square CharacterDartmouth 19371938
36
5 Flirting with DangerDartmouth 19381939
43
6 Renegades
53
7 Obliging a Lady
68
8 Fighting Back
97
14 Missionary Work
181
15 Not in This Day and Time
193
16 Object of Hate Engine of Destruction
207
17 A Lot to Explain
234
18 The Only Verdict Possible
262
19 His Own Worst Enemy
277
20 The Ends of Expediency
297
In Dubious and Ambiguous Battle
320

9 Sorry about Everything
111
10 A Marked Man
132
11 No Peace
145
12 Tool of Tyranny
159
13 Scene of the Crime
169
Notes
323
Bibliography
371
Index
377
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About the author (1994)


About the Author:
Gary May is Associate Professor of History at the University of Delaware. He is the author of China Scapegoat: The Diplomatic Ordeal of John Carter Vincent, which won the Allan Nevins Prizeof the Society of American Historians.

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