Sunday, April 07, 2013

The era of witch hunts, loyalty oaths and the "Lavender Scare" returns to Cheyenne today

Authors appreciate full-page newspaper coverage, especially if it appears on the day of a major book promo event.

Wyoming Tribune-Eagle Managing Editor Reed Eckhardt wrote an opinion piece this morning that explores Rodger McDaniel's book "Dying for Joe McCarthy's Sins: The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt." The book explores the dark days of the Red Scare in Washington, D.C., when many careers were ruined by Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy. It was a time of loyalty oaths and blacklists and the anti-homosexual "Lavender Scare" and extreme partisan politics. Sen. Hunt was ensnared and ended up killing himself.

Read the book to discover the whole sordid story, and why it took 60 years to tell it. Better yet, come to today's mock trial of McCarthy and his two U.S. Senate Republican fellow travelers, Styles Bridges of New Hampshire and Herman Welker of Idaho. Presiding will be retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden and former Gov. Dave Freudenthal will serve as prosecutor. Defense will be represented by Diane Lozano, director of the State Public Defender's Office. The trial gets underway at 1 p.m. today at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1908 Central Ave. Free and open to the public. Buy a copy of the book while you're at it.

I mentioned this before but I'm a witness at today's trial. I am playing the role of Roy L. Elson, administrative assistant to Sen. Carl Hayden and candidate for the U.S. Senate. I know some secrets....

Meanwhile, go read Eckhardt's column in the WTE. Like any good reviewer, he takes the author to task for perceived oversights. But it's a good overview of Rodger's book and the scary era that spawned it.

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