The nub of this first novel is a good one. Even those who weren’t alive in the early 1950s will have heard of Joseph McCarthy. Fired by the tensions of the Cold War but with scant regard for hard evidence, the US Republican senator made his reputation by accusing numerous individuals of communist sympathies, possible disloyalty, and/or treason. Intellectuals of every kind were a particular target; the so-called Hollywood blacklist led to many actors and writers being hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was assiduously supported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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