John Hoerr tells the story of three men—his uncle, Congressman Harry Davenport, union leader Tom Quinn, and Father Charles Owen Rice—whose lives became intertwined during the anti-Communist witch hunts of the McCarthy Era. The story helps illuminate one of the more repressive periods in American history, when thousands of Americans guilty only of enlisting in leftist causes were caught up in dragnets cast by overzealous Communist hunters on behalf of the House Un-American Activities Committee and other bodies. Much has been written about well-known cultural figures (the Hollywood Ten), and prominent writers (Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman) who contended with HUAC. Hoerr tells of mostly ordinary Americans who were largely unknown at the time, but whose stories are nonetheless remarkable.
Writing from personal experience with the title characters, as well as archival research, Hoerr recreates the events of the 1949 HUAC hearings, where rigged testimony by a few workers cast suspicion on their union brothers. The results would echo through the years, causing people to lose jobs, marriages, and self-respect. Hoerr traces the paths followed by Harry, Tom, and Father Rice and relates their individual experiences to the great conflict between anti-Communist and Communist forces in the American labor movement, leading to the eventual demise of the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations).
A valuable contribution to the history of the American worker in the twentieth century. HoerrÉa veteran labor journalist, has become a leading chronicler of the demise of industrial America.
An old, shameful secret of corporate Pittsburgh comes to light in John Hoerr's unusual new history Harry, Tom and Father Rice. This history, flavored with memoir, tells a lot about where we were-and are.
Every national trauma has its unique stories, and time rarely diminishes their impact. In his fascinating new book John Hoerr recounts yet another dark chapter from our troubled past scrupulously researched
More than a history text book. It is a personal account of the witch hunts of the 1940s and '50s and their effect on the lives of the families involved. Hoerr tells the story brilliantly and modestly. His history detective work is superb. His grasp of the industrial, political, and cultural history of mid-twentieth-century Pittsburgh is unrivaled. . . .A magnificent achievement that deserves the widest audience.
Numerous books have been written about McCarthyism's impact on the famous and notorious-but this authoritative account, which includes the author's personal slant, shows McCarthyiism's tragic impact on ordinary people.
This history flavored with memoir tells a lot about where we were — and are. . . . An ambitious, often riveting account of a neglected piece of history. . . .Much of this history races along like the best fiction. Few novels, in fact, have a hero as compelling as Quinn, who, despite repeated attacks, never comprised his principles.
John Hoerr was a freelance writer and author with over thirty years of experience as a journalist for UPI, The Daily Tribune, and public television. His published work included And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of the American Steel Industry and We Can’t Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard.learn more