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A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy
by David M. Oshinsky
597 pages
Free Press (Macmillan)
Published: January 1983

Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-1957) is infamous as the most prominent face of America’s anti-communist “Red Scare” movement in the early 1950s.  His actions were so conspicuous and controversial that the term “McCarthyism” was coined early in his rise to notoriety.

Oshinsky’s biography is almost exactly what sophisticated readers expect from serious political biography: a sober, reflective, dispassionate and interesting exploration of the facts and circumstances surrounding a subject’s life. In this case, Oshinsky has nicely captured the “world of Joe McCarthy” including the factors which enabled and sustained his political ascent and those which led to his collapse…

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