Naming Names: The Hollywood Blacklist
The anti-Communist hysteria rampant in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s is often called the McCarthy period. But the red baiting and persecution started even before McCarthy was elected to the Senate in 1946. The notorious House Un-American Activities Committee led the crusade to ferret out Communists in the U.S. They struck gold when they took on Hollywood, not because they actually found Communists but because of the public’s media-fed fixation on movie stars. Perhaps the most interesting case involved the great director Elia Kazan who felt he had to name names and cooperate with HUAC. Navasky raises interesting moral questions. His discussion of the actor Lee J. Cobb is most moving.
Victor Navasky was the editor of The Nation for many years. He is the author of Kennedy Justice and of Naming Names, which won the National Book Award in 1981.