Joseph McCarthy (1908–1957) was an undistinguished Wisconsin senator who rocketed to fame in 1950 with spectacular claims of government infiltration by communists. When Eisenhower entered office in 1953, many observers criticized the new president for failing to “get down in the gutter” and publicly repudiate McCarthy. But Nichols (Eisenhower 1956), an Eisenhower specialist and former academic dean at Southwestern College, makes a reasonable case that Eisenhower secretly engineered McCarthy’s downfall. The book is a blow-by-blow account of political maneuvering, mostly from January to June 1954, during McCarthy’s Army investigation, when, Nichols maintains, a fed-up Eisenhower launched “all-out war.” McCarthy’s weak point, advisors agreed, was his chief consul, Roy Cohn, who had badgered the Army to obtain special treatment for his assistant, G. David Schine. Sure enough, a report on those efforts, distributed at Eisenhower’s request, produced headlines and provoked the subsequent Army-McCarthy hearings, which were televised live and proved to be a public relations disaster for the senator. His influence declined, though his boorish behavior did not. Nichols incorporates memos, transcripts, speeches, interviews, and news conferences. His work is never dull and readers will likely agree with his conclusion that Eisenhower worked hard behind the scenes to foil McCarthy. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 03/21/2017 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.