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Virtual Lunch & Learn Book Club – Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

Date/Time
Date(s) - Wednesday, August 12th
12:00 pm CDT - 1:00 pm CDT

Location


dsc0801-version-2New York Times bestselling author Larry Tye will discuss his new book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. Tye got first-ever and exclusive access to the senator’s personal and professional papers, which were under lock-and-key at Marquette for 60 years, along with his medical and military records. These new records give a more nuanced sense of who the Red-baiting senator was, why Wisconsin elected and re-elected, and how McCarthy and McCarthyism matter more now than ever. Tye also will discuss convincing evidence that McCarthy was anti-Semitic as well as anti-Communist and anti-gay.

Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy. We still use “McCarthyism” to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander. From 1950 to 1954, McCarthy destroyed many careers and even entire lives, whipping the nation into a frenzy of paranoia, accusation, loyalty oaths, and terror. When the public finally turned on him, he came crashing down, dying of alcoholism in 1957. Only now, through bestselling author Larry Tye’s exclusive look at the senator’s records, can the full story be told.

Demagogue is a masterful portrait of a human being capable of immense evil, yet beguiling charm. McCarthy was a tireless worker and a genuine war hero. His ambitions knew few limits. Neither did his socializing, his drinking, nor his gambling. When he finally made it to the Senate, he flailed around in search of an agenda and angered many with his sharp elbows and lack of integrity. Finally, after three years, he hit upon anti-communism. By recklessly charging treason against everyone from George Marshall to much of the State Department, he became the most influential and controversial man in America. His chaotic, meteoric rise is a gripping and terrifying object lesson for us all. Yet his equally sudden fall from fame offers reason for hope that, given the rope, most American demagogues eventually hang themselves.

Registration is Required to Access the Zoom Session

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This program is free and open to the public.
Suggested donation $5


About Larry Tye

Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose next book, a biography of Senator Joe McCarthy, is due out in the spring of 2020 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

His last book was a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, the former attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon explores RFK’s extraordinary transformation from cold warrior to fiery leftist.

Tye’s first book, The Father of Spin, is a biography of public relations pioneer Edward L. Bernays. Home Lands looks at the Jewish renewal underway from Boston to Buenos Aires. Rising from the Rails explores how the black men who worked on George Pullman’s railroad sleeping cars helped kick-start the Civil Rights movement and gave birth to today’s African-American middle class. Shock, a collaboration with Kitty Dukakis, is a journalist’s first-person account of ECT, psychiatry’s most controversial treatment, and a portrait of how that therapy helped one woman overcome debilitating depression. Satchel is the biography of two American icons – Satchel Paige and Jim Crow. Superman tells the nearly-real life story of the most enduring American hero of the last century.

In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like public health, mental health, and high-tech medicine. Launched in 2001 and supported by a series of foundations, the fellowship trains a dozen medical journalists a year from newspapers, radio stations, and TV outlets nationwide.

From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Before that, he was the environmental reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and covered government and business at The Anniston Star in Alabama.

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

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