Blacklisted! by Larry Dane Brimner | SLJ Review

Gr 7 Up –In the years following World War II, anticommunist sentiment reached a high in the United States with the formation of a congressional committee tasked with finding communists who were supposedly involved in spreading subversive messages in movies.

redstarBRIMNER, Larry Dane. Blacklisted!: Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment. 176p. bibliog. filmog. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Calkins Creek. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781620916032.

Gr 7 Up –In the years following World War II, anticommunist sentiment reached a high in the United States with the formation of a congressional committee tasked with finding communists who were supposedly involved in spreading subversive messages in movies. The House Un-American Activities Committee started out in 1947 with a list of artists from the motion picture industry and ended up creating a blacklist that would affect at least hundreds. Those subpoenaed included director Edward Dmytryk and screenwriters Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo; 10 would be convicted for contempt. There is a careful presentation of the order of testimony, how questions were asked and answered—or not allowed to be asked or answered. There were a number of ways in which those summoned avoided answering if they were or had ever been a member of the Communist Party. Their answers are quite fascinating and relevant to today’s polarizing political environment. Copious quotations are integrated into the story of 19 men forced to make a choice between their beliefs and their livelihood. Librarians could pair this with James Cross Giblin’s The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthyVERDICT This is a fascinating look at a part of U.S. history that should be included in public and school libraries.–Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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