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An American Ism: Joe McCarthy
A Film by Glenn Silber
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AN AMERICAN ISM examines the making of America's most notorious demagogue, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.

McCarthy became one of the most feared and powerful politicians of the 20th century when he exploited the "anti-communist" delirium and fear that blanketed post World War II America.

McCarthy's life story and his unlikely rise to power is told by friends, victims, and politicians. More than just a film biography, AN AMERICAN ISM reveals much about the nature and fragility of America's democratic institutions.

"Fascinating! Mr. McCarthy is remembered at one point as 'a simple hearted country boy who got caught in something over his head.' That evaluation is generous. McCarthyism, the symbol of distrust and suspicion in the 50s, remains a nightmare." - New York Times

"'It could happen again' became a fear and a threat. Perhaps it could, but that seems unlikely as long as [this] film keeps alive the memory of a genuine American horror." - TV Guide

1980 Dupont-Columbia University Award for Journalistic Excellence
Red Ribbon Winner, 1979 American Film Festival

88 minutes / color
Copyright: 1978
Sale: $298

Study guide available

In theaters now!

Subject areas:
Biographies, Cold War Era, Comparative Government, History (U.S.), Law, North America, Political Science

Related Titles:
They Chose China: Academy Award-nominated documentarian Shuibo Wang tells the controversial story of American POWs who after the Korean War refused repatriation, and stayed in China.

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Last Updated August 17, 2015
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