cover image Cold War & the Univ

Cold War & the Univ

Ira Katznelson, Noam Chomsky, Et, Laura Nader. New Press, $25 (258pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-005-8

Those already inclined to regard the government as deceitful, oppressive and imperialist will be further convinced by this book. To most people, however, it will appear unfortunately slanted and dated. The overt purpose of the collection is to assemble writings by American scholars on how the Cold War affected the academy, but as often as not the real agenda would seem the condemnation of almost all government action of the period. Montgomery strikes this note in his introduction, which he begins with censorship of broadcasts by Los Alamos scientists being censored in May 1946. There are plenty of interesting essays to be written about the purported topic without dragging tangential subjects in kicking and screaming: corporate power versus the UAW and CIO, racial violence in the military and genocide against the Indians-""the original sin of American culture,"" says Noam Chomsky. In more germane (if equally skewed) essays, R.C. Lewontin describes how research agendas of universities were shaped by communist witch hunts while Richard Ohmann writes of secret inducements in English departments to follow a Cold War blueprint. In short, the scholarship is embarrassingly selective, and designed not to inform but to indict. (Feb.)