Red Scare

The Cold War in American Popular Culture

by Mitchell Newton-Matza, Editor


From aliens' creation of pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers to the villain Red Skull in Captain America, reminders of the communist threat appear in popular culture even today.

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Cover image for Red Scare

May 2020


Pages 400
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
  Politics, Law, and Government/History
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    Hardcover: £73.00/79,00€/A$121.00

Red Scare examines a number of popular films, comic books, novels, and more through the lens of the Cold War.

Red Scare examines the historical context for anti-communism in popular culture during the Cold War era, the various ways popular culture depicted the communist threat, and how this changed over time from the Red Scare hysteria of the late 1940s to the revived fear of the Soviet threat during the Reagan era.

The book details a number of creative works produced and published during the Cold War era, provides plot synopses focusing on anti-communist/Cold War elements, highlights notable biographical details of those involved in the creation of each work, analyzes how each work was shaped by anti-communism and the Cold War, and discusses how each work in turn was received by consumers. It also examines popular culture works that critique Red Scare hysteria, from the political thriller The Manchurian Candidate to the absurdist TV comedy Get Smart.


  • Provides readers with an examination of the Cold War that goes beyond the political issues of the period
  • Offers insight into how the artistic community viewed and commented on the Cold War
  • Connects with the current tensions between the United States and Russia
  • Gives an overview of the background to anti-Communist hysteria
  • Includes images that bring topics to life
Author Info

Mitchell Newton-Matza has taught at several colleges and universities in Illinois and Virginia and currently teaches at North Virginia Community College. He received his PhD in history from the Catholic University of America. He has worked as an educator at various museums, including History Colorado, the Molly Brown House Museum, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including American History Sites and Landmarks That Shaped America; The Espionage and Sedition Acts; Intelligent and Honest Radicals: The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Politics of Progressivism; and Jazz Age: People and Perspectives.

Other Titles of Interest

America in the Cold War cover imageThe Rise of Communism cover imagePop Culture Places cover image
Women's Rights cover imageGhosts in Popular Culture and Legend cover imageFreedom of Speech cover image

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