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Scoundrel Time

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  440 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In 1952, Hellman joined the ranks of intellectuals and artists called before Congress to testify about political subversion. Terrified yet defiant, Hellman refused to incriminate herself or others, and managed to avoid trial. Nonetheless the experience brought devastating controversy and loss. First published in 1972, her retelling of the time features a remarkable cast of ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Back Bay Books (first published January 1st 1972)
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Community Reviews

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Jon
Sep 02, 2013 Jon rated it it was amazing
In Lillian Hellman’s memoir entitled Scoundrel Time, the renowned playwright addresses the subject of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and its investigations into alleged Communist infiltration of the entertainment industry in the 1940s and 50s from the perspective of her own personal experience as a subpoenaed witness. Hellman opens with a brief summation of the anti-Communist hysteria of the period – which began in earnest after the end of World War II with increasing tensions bet ...more
Jon
May 04, 2009 Jon rated it it was amazing
This book by Lillian Hellman is a scathing indictment of the House Un American Activities Committee. The book recounts the sorted history of HUAC and how she prepared for her one day testimony with the leftist attorney, Joseph Rauh. Rauh devised a unique defense: Hellman would openly talk about herself and her own experiences. However, she would take the fifth amendment if HUAC wanted her to comment about so called Communist affiliations for people she knew. Rauh and Hellman’s strategy worked we ...more
Suzanne
Feb 08, 2008 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A readable and engaging account of what it was like to be an artist during the "Communist Scare" and subsequent Senator McCarthy witchhunt during the 1950's. Friends ratted on each other to cover their own self-interests and guilt by association ruled the day. Not for Ms. Hellman however. Unintimidated she stood for what she believed in and that reputation is as much a part of her memory, as are her fine works. Worth reading if you are interested in that period or in her particularly. Reading th ...more
Gregory Knapp
Sep 29, 2014 Gregory Knapp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, memoir
Looking back on the Mary McCarthy/Hellman feud one is left to say, (1) Hellman was a playwright for decades before she wrote her "Memoirs." Why would anyone look to a brilliant literary artist for factual truth??? And, 2) WHO CARES if the Memoirs are factually correct? They are BRILLIANT stories!!!
Sketchbook
Dec 15, 2012 Sketchbook rated it did not like it
Lil never let honesty or a fact trouble her dementia. In the 17thcentury, she'd have been burned as a witch.
Ryan
Aug 24, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
Scoundrel Time is a gripping read. There is no plot, really; it’s simply a non-fiction account by Lillian Hellman of the McCarthy era and its consequences — mostly its consequences for Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, with whom she was romantically involved for thirty years.

For those who don’t know, Lillian Hellman was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, in part, it seems, because they knew that Hammett had been a member of the Communist Party. Instead of testi
...more
Christian Engler
Sep 19, 2013 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Desensitized for a long time to the stressful pain of the infamous McCarthy period, Scoundrel Time must have been a most cathartic memoir for Lillian Hellman to write; it is, of the autobiographical trilogy, the most unfeigned and succinct of the three books. Her voice resonates, echoes, and behind hers, the voices of other 'Red Scare' victims closely follow. This is not her book alone; it is a book belonging to a past, present and future generation of people who were, are, and regrettably will ...more
Myra Rose
Mar 03, 2014 Myra Rose rated it it was amazing
This was the second time I read this book. The first time was right after it was published, more than 30 years ago. The book was a great read that time, but this time it was a profound one. Written by one of America's premier female playwrights about her experience as an 'unfriendly' witness during the McCarthy hearings, I kept thinking that history continues to repeat itself in many ways. She had such insight into the climate of American politics, history and culture for the time, but would nev ...more
Dena
Jun 25, 2016 Dena rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Aug 23, 2007 Anna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the memoir about Hellman's experiences during the McCarthy era. Her significant other, Dashiell Hammett is imprisoned and she is forced to testify in front of the House UnAmerican Actvities Commission. Here is the famous quote: "I will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."
Erica
Apr 11, 2016 Erica rated it really liked it
This memoir of the Ms Hellman's experience with the HUAC made me feel like I was there.
It does expect us to know a little backround, but it is quite intimate and "shows" rather than "tells" what it was like to come into Sen. Joe McCarthy's spotlight.
There have been suggestions that Ms Hellman was either not entirely truthful, and/or no longer had an intact memory when she wrote this. I was not able to determine what was true or untrue.
However, there are some facts. She did indeed live with Mr H
...more
Kevin
Sep 01, 2008 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit
This book, along with Nonconformity gave me an insight into the McCarthy trials. Hellman's stand and her lines about freedom and justice is awesome!
Stuart
Aug 01, 2009 Stuart rated it it was amazing
Lillian Hellman writes about her appearance before the McCarthy Committee and provides a unique view into that destructive time in America's history.
بهمن بهمن
Jun 16, 2007 بهمن بهمن rated it liked it
ye dastane jaleb az hamsare dashil hamet (ke ghablan moarefish kardam).filmesham kheili ma'roofe.
Mel
I bought this book even though I have no real interest in American history or macarthiasm, but purely on the basis that one of the Hammett collections I have has an amazing introduction by Hellman and she sounded like a very interesting woman. This short book is about her dealings with the anti-american hearings in 1952 and how it affected her life, and to a lesser extent Hammett's life. It was an interesting snap shot of the time. Sad to see how much control the people at the hearings had, the ...more
Aaaron
Jan 27, 2008 Aaaron rated it it was ok
like so many of my books, i picked this up at the bookthing because the title caught my eye. the mccarthy era has always interested me, so i picked it up.

i almost stopped after about 40 pages (30 of which are the introduction, which i'd recommend skipping), but it's only 150 pages, so i decided to stick with it.

summoned before the house un-american activities committee in 1952, hellman refused to name other people who might be communists, but was willing to talk about herself. because of this,
...more
علی
روزگار رذل، یا آن گونه که به فارسی ترجمه شده "روزگار بدسگالان"، روایتی ست از خاطرات لیلیان هلمن از دوران "مک کارتی"، خاطراتی دردناک از زنی که بخاطر ایستادگی بر سر ارزش هایش، بسیاری چیزها از دست داد. "روزگار رذل" اگرچه حکایتی است از گذشته اما برای حال و آینده روایت شده، برای نسل هایی که هستند، و از پی می آیند، قربانیان تاریخی که تحریف شده، و می شود. لیلیان هلمن خود گفته است که شرح این مصائب کار آسانی نبوده، و آنچه گذشته او را از داوری سرراست، در مورد عاملان این دوره، باز می دارد؛ "داوری در مورد م ...more
Sarah Funke
Aug 07, 2008 Sarah Funke rated it it was ok
Starts off kind of choppy and makes you think she should have stuck to screenplays and scripts, but once she stops talking about how confusing it all is to write about, she does ok. She skips around in time a bit, which I found annoying (not confusing, I'm not an idiot, it was just not too pleasant to read) but the voice is clear and the anecdotes and perspective are interesting. It wasn't as chilling or moving as I thought it would be, but there's a bit I liked about some deer.

She has occasion
...more
Mary
Oct 08, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
A bit like having a conversation with someone who assumes you know everyone they're talking about, but an intimate insight into the McCarthy days. We should never forget.
Ginny
Nov 29, 2015 Ginny rated it really liked it
Great history of the McCarthy era. A short autobiography of Lillian Hellman from 1930 - 1955ish
Mikee
Jul 03, 2012 Mikee rated it it was amazing
A powerful, personal, insightful, acerbic memoir of the McCarthy years as seen by Ms Lillian Hellman. Pulls no punches. Skewers those who need skewering and does not make herself out to be any more of a hero than she was. Think this is history? Think again. Substitute terrorist for communist and there you are. Instead of "card-carrying" we have "links", as in "links to Al Qaeda". And instead of hearings we have "drone strikes on targets of opportunity". Chilling.
Carol Stansfield
The problem I have with Lillian Hellman is that, although I enjoyed her books at the time I first read them, so much of what she wrote has been proven to not quite be true but still these stories weren't badly written. So who am I to repudiate someone for being a little liberal with the truth? I guess her plays might have offered some insight; they were always full of deceit and a good deal of hysteria.
Ted Ficklen
Aug 09, 2012 Ted Ficklen rated it really liked it
Mary McCarthy famously said of Lillian Hellman that every word she wrote was a lie "including and and the." But this is a wonderful book about how we remember the past and how it becomes wrapped up in truths and falsehoods. I never much cared for her plays, but this memoir, however factually false or true it may be, is just lovely.
Jim
Lillian Hellman's memoir of the witch-hunting, blacklisting years of the 1950s, and her involvement with them. (She and Dashiell Hammett had a thirty-year relationship, but never married.)
Jan C
May 17, 2009 Jan C rated it liked it
Hellman's account of how she made it through the bad times of the McCarthy Era, including when she had to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). It's probably filled with half-truths like her other volumes of memoirs. But, then, maybe that is what most memoirs are filled with.

Roberta
Mar 07, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it
A firsthand account of a shameful time in American history. I worry every day that the current actions of some Governors and certain activists echo the attitudes of the HUAC. Accept this book as both a remembered account and a warning of what can happen again if we do not strive to make sure it does not.
Nicole Marble
Nov 15, 2011 Nicole Marble rated it it was amazing
This is the 3rd section of Hellmans biography (even though my library filed it in Fiction). It focuses on her testimony before the House Un-American committee in 1952. And btw, for those who think the 50's were all about 'Leave it to Beaver', this book should clarify.
Plus, Hellman was a brilliant writer.
Susan
May 24, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
Found on the free book truck - always wanted to read this. So far the introduction is pretty tough sledding - hope the actual book is better. It WAS! Once I got to the actual book, it was very interesting - a good portrait of a horrible time. Makes me want to read her full-length auto-bios
Seán
The Gary Wills introduction was top-notch; Hellman's work a decent essay. Don't expect me to take a side in the Mary McCarthy, et. al v. Hellman contretemps, however. Hellman was probably wrong, but the bitter old man in me admires how she went to the grave raging against her old comrades.
Sarah
Jan 07, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
I am a Lillian Hellman fan, and Scoundrel Time did not diappoint. While it is not may favorite among her works, it gives a glimpse into her relationship with Dashiell Hammett and into the fever of McCarthyism that raged in the fifities destroying innocent lives.
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66241
Lillian Florence "Lilly" Hellman (June 20, 1905 – June 30, 1984) was an American dramatist and screenwriter famously blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) at the height of the anti-communist campaigns of 1947–52.

Hellman was praised for sacrificing her career by refusing to answer questions by HUAC; but her denial that she had ever belonged to the Communist Party was e
...more
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