cover image Blacklisted! Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment

Blacklisted! Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment

Larry Dane Brimner. Calkins Creek, $17.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-62091-603-2

Brimner (Twelve Days in May) provides a cinematic recounting of the 1947 investigation into the motion picture industry by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Extensive quotes from contemporary sources help to recreate the struggle—complete with shouting matches, arbitrary rulings, and summary dismissals—between politicians determined to uncover evidence of communist infiltration and the Hollywood 10, men striving to protect their work, livelihoods, and futures by invoking the First Amendment. Throughout, Brimner provides necessary context and clearly explains each stage of the proceedings, from the Committee hearings to Supreme Court appeals several years later, showing how individual rights were trampled in the process. Later chapters focus on the Hollywood blacklist—created by studio executives to preclude further investigation into their business, it lasted until 1960—and the devastating impact it had on many careers. An author’s note concludes: “America and Americans need to be ever watchful that the Constitution’s guarantees are never sacrificed again out of fear, hysteria, prejudice, or political passion.” Abundant archival material, bibliography, and sources are included as back matter. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)