Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America
A Critical History
by Larry Ceplair
October 2011, 372pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0047-4
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0048-1
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Though fewer than 300 people had been identified as spies for the Soviet Union, a “Red Scare” erupted, leading to the prosecution, proscription, and jailing of thousands of people—individuals who represented no threat at all to the national security of the United States. In fact, it is arguable that the time and resources devoted to exposing and punishing “Reds” weakened internal security by tearing gaping holes in the fabric of society and culture.

This compelling, critical analysis of anti-communism illustrates the variety of anti-Communist styles and agendas, thereby making a persuasive case that the "threat" of domestic communism in Cold War America was vastly overblown.

In the United States today, communism is an ideology or political movement that barely registers in the consciousness of our nation. Yet merely half a century ago, “communist” was a buzzword that every citizen in our nation was aware of—a term that connoted “traitor” and almost certainly a characterization that most Americans were afraid of.

Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History provides a panoramic perspective of the types of anti-communists in the United States between 1919 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It explains the causes and exceptional nature of anti-communism in the United States, and divides it into eight discrete categories. This title then thoroughly examines the words and deeds of the various anti-Communists in each of these categories during the three “Red Scares” in the past century. The work concludes with an unapologetic assessment of domestic anti-communism. This book allows readers to more fully comprehend what the anti-communists meant with their rhetoric, and grasp their impact on the United States during the 20th century and beyond—for example, how anti-communism has reappeared as anti-terrorism.


  • Pictures of the most notable anti-Communists
  • A bibliography of books and articles consulted
Larry Ceplair is professor of history emeritus at Santa Monica College, CA. His published works include Under the Shadow of War: Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and Marxist, 1918–1939 and The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico. He also coauthored The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930–1960.


"Ceplair (emer., history, Santa Monica College) has written an engaging survey of anticommunism in the 20th-century US. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice, May 1, 2012
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