The Bad Old Days

The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower

by David Caute

Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1945-1948

by Robert J. Donovan
At the start of his account of “the anti-Communist purge under Truman and Eisenhower,” David Caute characterizes the first of these presidents as a “peppery little bustler”; a few pages later he finds it “tempting to condemn him as a hypocrite.” And that is just about all Caute tells us …

A Question of Confidence

Roosevelt and Churchill 1939-1941: The Partnership That Saved the West

by Joseph P. Lash

Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence

edited by Francis L. Loewenheim, edited by Harold D. Langley, edited by Manfred Jonas
Two books with nearly identical titles—one is a recent Book-of-the-Month Club selection, the other was scarcely noticed when it appeared a year and a half ago. Yet the latter is not only the more important but also the more readable. This conclusion, which crept up on me by surprise, besides …

The Cold War and Détente

A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance

by Martin J. Sherwin

Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin 1941-1946

by W. Averell Harriman and Elie Abel
With the publication of these two books, the debate on the origins of the cold war launched by the “revisionist” historians of the 1960s has been raised to a new level of courtesy, nuance, and scrupulous documentation. This is not to say that in emphasis and structure Harriman’s war memoirs …

They Don’t Make Them Like That Any More

The Autobiographical Notes of Charles Evans Hughes

edited by David J. Danelski, edited by Joseph S. Tulchin
Throughout my childhood and youth I suffered from being invariably identified as the grandson of one of the country’s most prominent citizens. It was an awkward situation, which I handled mostly by evasion: I counted it a triumph when I managed for a few days or weeks to make my …

Closing the Oppenheimer Case

The Oppenheimer Case: Security on Trial

by Philip M. Stern

The Swift Years: The Robert Oppenheimer Story

by Peter Michelmore
The death of J. Robert Oppenheimer three years ago was bound to prompt another look at his already well-chronicled security hearing of 1954. Countless members of the American intellectual community recalled it as the episode that touched them most closely in an era of general political squalor—or perhaps, as the …

The Wasps

The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America

by E. Digby Baltzell
Digby Baltzell’s The Protestant Establishment has many virtues that lift it above the level we have come to expect in works of contemporary social and cultural analysis. It is clearly and convincingly written in plain English, rather than journalese or the jargon of social science. It is a real book: …