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Fear on Trial

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  31 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
John Henry Faulk was a popular radio and television personality during the McCarthy era. He was host of his own radio program on WCBS in New York when he publicly challenged AWARE, Inc., an ultrapatriotic group engaged in the systematic blacklisting of entertainment personalities. In response, an AWARE bulletin accused Faulk himself of subversive associations. Angry and fr ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by University of Texas Press (first published 1964)
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Howard
We have met the enemy and he is us. -- Pogo (Walt Kelly)


Fear on Trial(published in 1964) is John Henry Faulk's story of his lonely and courageous fight against the practice of blacklisting that transformed him from a popular radio personality into an unemployable pariah. After a battle that lasted six years, he won -- sort of.

The book begins:

"This is a story of violence. Not violence involving physical brutality, lust, or bloodshed, but a more subtle kind of violence -- the violence of vigilanti
...more
Scott
Dec 17, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
Finished this book today.
The first half had me outraged and appalled that those folks labelling, often with no basis at all and definitely with no fear or reprisal, artists and others as possible communist supporters/sympathizers.

John Henry Faulk is one such person. He was a CBS radio personality who was paid well and quite popular and had good ratings... until a smear sheet reported he may have communist tendencies.

But Faulk took a unique approach - he sued. He sued for libel those who smeared
...more
George Bradford
Feb 29, 2008 George Bradford rated it really liked it
Shelves: texas
The United States has an unpleasant history of using 'patriotism' as a tool of tyranny. Political rhetoric built upon false choices and straw man arguments are nothing new. Smear campaigns are old hat. The recent Rove/Bush/Cheney "You either support us or you support the enemy" was not an original concept. The script for demonizing citizens who don't submit to the fear mongering program was plagiarized from the government sponsored anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s.

And in the 1950s, one of th
...more
Herb Reeves
Jan 11, 2010 Herb Reeves rated it it was amazing
You would think -- or hope -- that this book would read with the patina of a bygone era. Unfortunately, today's descendants of "Red Channels" still count on fear and hysteria to accomplish their goals and its lessons apply today.

It's good to read of one man who stood up and was not afraid to pay the price he was forced to pay for believing that the Constitution deserved to be taken seriously.

Anyone interested might want to read Louis Nizer's book "The Jury Returns" as well. He was Faulk's attorn
...more
Clay Olmstead
Jan 21, 2016 Clay Olmstead rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Fascinating look at a terrible time in our history, told by one of the heroes of the time, who is now nearly forgotten. This would be a good companion to the movie Trumbo.

Long time Austinites will enjoy the glimpses of South Austin life in the 1930's and 1950's.

I would have given it more stars, but the long passages of verbatim trial records got a little tedious.
Peter Amsel
Jun 28, 2016 Peter Amsel rated it it was amazing
A wonderful look at the McCarthy era and ramifications of being "blacklisted" as a result of the House Un-American Activities Committee's 'witch-hunt' for communists within the United States. A chillingly stark look at a political world that may not have disappeared.
SueAnn
Dec 08, 2009 SueAnn rated it it was amazing
This memoir tells about people who were accused of UnAmerican activities. The author was represented by Louis Nizer. A must read!
Cindy
Oct 16, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Amazing memoir about being a victim of McCarthyism. Everyone should read it. Fear can trap even ordinary, kind people in cruel acts.
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