John Earl Haynes: Says the mainstream press is ignoring new book about Joe McCarthy by apologist M. Stanton Evans

Historians in the News

[John Earl Haynes, a member of Washington DeCoded’s editorial board, is the author (together with Harvey Klehr) of Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials That Shaped American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2006).]

Eight years after Arthur Herman, here comes Stan Evans with another effort to pull off what most historians would regard as a Herculean (if not Sisyphean) task: the rehabilitation of Joe McCarthy.

As did his predecessor, Evans does an excellent job of correcting excesses in the historical record — the unthinking, near-hysterical, and far too common demonization of McCarthy. Indeed, Evans’s book is more detailed, and he conducted more original and diligent research into primary documentation than did Herman in his account of “America’s most hated senator.”[1]

So comprehensive is Evans’s research that it will be a foolish historian who does not consult Blacklisted by History when a question arises over some person or event that comes into the McCarthy story. Unlike Herman, however, whose bottom-line appraisal was positive but qualified, Stan Evans’s defense is more full-throated. While granting that McCarthy was “a flawed champion of the cause he served,” Evans judges that the cause needed a “warrior” like McCarthy, and finds that McCarthy had a highly positive impact on public opinion, on America’s Asian policy, and on government security policy.[2]...

McCarthyism is such a freighted term that watching the reaction to Evans’s long-awaited book promised to be as interesting, informative, and entertaining as the book itself.

So far, the chief arbiters of what might be called the left intelligentsia—The New York Times and Times Book Review, New York Review of Books, and The Nation—have chosen to slight Evans’s book by ignoring it. The most significant reviews have appeared in the National Review online (“The Enemy Within,” November 30, written by Ron Radosh) and The Weekly Standard. The latter was of particular interest to me, since I have subscribed to TWS since its early days and was, naturally, most curious about how one of my most intensely read journals would treat the book....
Read entire article at John Earl Haynes in a review published in Washington DeCoded.

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Alonzo Hamby - 12/12/2007

This is a very troubling excerpt of Haynes' fine review.

It makes one think that Haynes is defending Evans' book. In fact, he goes on to criticize it pretty strongly. He does think it is better than Arthur Herman's defense of McCarthy, but he wants no part of defending Joe.

If it is not feasible to reproduce the full review, HNN should at least give a better sample.

I'm disappointed.