This Nest of Vipers

Charles H. McCormick, Author, McCormick, Author University of Illinois Press $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-252-01614-1
As background for this academic study, McCormick relates McCarthyism to witch-hunting of colonial times and to later actions against Freemasons, Roman Catholics, Jews and liberals who were regarded as threats to social order and national security. Red-baiters of the 1950s, notes the author, attacked not only famous figures of entertainment, communications, government and education, but found targets as well in provincial institutions such as Fairmont State College in West Virginia (where McCormick teaches history). It was here that Luella Mundel headed the art department until she was dismissed in 1951 on charges that her alleged Communist leanings constituted a security risk. A colleague's complaints were taken up by the board of education, the American Legion and other conservative elements in the area. Encouraged by the press and American Civil Liberties Union, Mundel sued board member Thelma Loudon for libel and lost. ``The court spoke; Mundel and her ilk left town; life went on. But was justice done?'' A footnote to the history of McCarthyism, this will be of interest only to students of the era. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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