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With pundits warning of a “New Cold War” between the United States and China, and America’s electorate deeply divided about the merits and dangers of socialism, 2021 doesn’t feel all that far away from the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. Back then, fear of communist infiltration pervaded the U.S. government and Joseph McCarthy hunted down suspected communists in the American political, military, and cultural establishment. Fueled in part by anti-Semitism and Cold War panic, the Red Scare swept the nation, and ruined the lives of countless innocent Americans. Today, the political legacy of this complex anti-communist phenomenon continues to shape American politics and American foreign policy in unexpected ways. What lessons can we learn from the past?
Join Perry World House for this discussion with Clay Risen of The New York Times, looking at Mr. Risen’s new research and book on what the Red Scare means for America in 2021. Sign up for this virtual event, and details of how to take part can be found in your order confirmation email.
Clay Risen is a reporter on the obituaries desk at The New York Times and a visiting fellow at Perry World House. He is the author of The Crowded Hour: Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders and the Dawn of the American Century, a New York Times Notable Book of 2019 and a finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Prize in Military History. His other recent books include The Impossible Collection of Whiskey (October, 2020) and Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland (October, 2018). He is also the author of the spirits bestseller American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit, now in its sixth printing with more than 100,000 copies sold. It is widely considered the bible on American whiskey and placed Risen among the leading authorities on the history, business, and diversity of U.S. spirits. Risen has served as a judge on multiple spirit award committees, including the prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge. In addition to The Crowded Hour, Risen is the author of two other acclaimed books on American history, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination and The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act. A graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the University of Chicago, Risen grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two young children.