Cold War and McCarthy Era
People and Perspectives
by Caroline S. Emmons, Editor
June 2010, 227pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-103-9
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-104-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

America’s celebration of victory at the end of World War II was short lived. Rapidly escalating tensions with the Soviet Union helped spawn a new era of fear and suspicion as the United States sought to confront the threat of communism from both outside and within its borders. One man so vigorously (and recklessly) pursued Communists in the United States, that the era now commonly bears his name.

This volume offers readers the opportunity to see how the Cold War and McCarthy eras affected men, women, and children of varying backgrounds, providing a more personal examination of this important era.

Studies of the Cold War often focus on the political power players who shaped American/Soviet relations. Cold War and McCarthy Era: People and Perspectives shifts the spotlight to show how the fear of a Soviet attack and Communist infiltration affected the daily life of everyday Americans.

Cold War and McCarthy Era gauges the impact of McCarthyism on a wide range of citizens. Chapters examine Cold War-era popular culture as well as the community-based Civil Defense Societies. Essays, key primary documents, and other reference tools further readers’ understanding of how official reactions to Communist threats, both real and perceived, altered every aspect of American society.


  • Contributions from acclaimed scholars of mid-20th-century America bring a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives
  • A selection of primary resources, from official documents to personal correspondence and diaries, offers firsthand accounts of life in the McCarthy era
Caroline S. Emmons is associate professor of history at Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA.


"Focusing on ordinary people rather than wellknown figures, historians and other scholars from the US address effects on men, women, children, gays and lesbians, African Americans, laborers, journalists, federal and civil defense workers, and popular culture, in addition to the politicians who shaped Cold War debates at the local and national levels. They identify the ways Cold War anxieties and priorities shaped US attitudes about gender relations, child-rearing, sexual behavior, and other aspects of life. Included are primary documents like testimony before the House Committee on Un- American Activities."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2010
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