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No Ivory Tower_ McCarthyism and the Universities

No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities

Oxford University Press, New York, 1986

American universities have long boasted about their dedication to academic freedom. But, as No Ivory Tower reveals, for more than a decade during the early Cold War they collaborated with McCarthyism. Dozens of professors appeared before state or congressional investigating committees or were fingered by the FBI. Most had once been associated with Communism, but had drifted away and were no longer politically active. But because of their unwillingness to cooperate with the witch-hunt, they were fired and then blacklisted.

From the Ivy League to the city colleges of New York, almost every kind of institution purged its dissident faculty members. Ellen Schrecker combed dozens of archives and interviewed nearly one hundred participants to uncover the previously unknown story of the academy’s shameful involvement with McCarthyism. That so many mainstream institutions collaborated so readily with the anti-Communist crusade should give us pause.

Outstanding Book Award, History of Education Society, 1987

Honorable Mention, Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States, 1987


“Straightforward and disturbing….A superb book.”

― The Nation

“Dramatic, exhaustive, often poignant, this is the first complete account of the spiritual havoc brought to American universities in the 1940s and 50s by government committees investigating ‘subversion.”

― The Boston Globe

“Schrecker has broken through the barriers of silence imposed by McCarthyism as has no previous historian.”

― The Boston Review

“A book that should receive respectful attention and the gratitude of the many readers it deserves”

― C. Vann Woodward, The New York Review of Books

“As thorough an examination of the facts of these cases as we are ever likely to see.”

― Nathan Glazer, The New Republic

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