Originally published 02/06/2013
Andrew Feffer: Review of Marjorie Heins’s "Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge" (NYU, 2013)
Andrew Feffer is a Professor of History and Co-Director of Film Studies at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He is currently writing a book on the impact of the Rapp-Coudert investigation on the intellectual life of New York City.In the fall of 1940 through the winter of 1941, as Europe passed into the second year of world war and the nation slowly climbed out of the Great Depression, faculty, students and staff from New York City’s municipal colleges were called before a tribunal of the New York State Legislature investigating Communist subversion. Before it was done in spring 1942, the Rapp-Coudert investigation, as this witch-hunt was called, had stripped dozens of people of their jobs, careers and reputations. Pearl Harbor had not yet happened. The Cold War would not start for another seven years. And yet something resembling “McCarthyism” had already begun.
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