Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss will discuss and sign copies of his new book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father. His new work captures the pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family's ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.
This event is free and open to the public. We ask that you buy your copies of A Good American Family from The Book Stall if you intend on enterign the book-signing queue. Can't make it to the event? Call us at 847-446-8880 and we are happy to arrange to get an autographed copy of A Good American Family for you!
Elliott Maraniss, David's father, a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-black company in the Pacific, was spied on by the FBI, named as a communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet he never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact.
A Good American Family powerfully evokes the political dysfunctions of the 1950s while connecting this important part of American history with echoes in America today. Like the Un-American Activities Committee and Joe McCarthy, demagogues use fear, sensationalism, and distortion as dangerous political weapons. A Good American Family is ultimately a story of the resilience and redemption of a family—and a nation—that rose from the fear and paranoia of that era. Maraniss’s father never lost faith in America, and he was eventually vindicated, starting a second act with his American optimism intact. Maraniss explains,
“As a biographer and chronicler of social history, I’ve spent my career trying to understand the forces that shape America and to measure individuals by the whole pattern of their lives. Before now, I had always done this by researching the lives of strangers until they became familiar to me. This time one of the figures was intimately familiar to me at the start, and I wondered—and worried—whether by the end my father would be more of a stranger to me. Instead, I emerged with a clearer appreciation of the American story—and with a better understanding of my father, of our family and its secrets, and of myself.”
David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and was a finalist three other times. Among his bestselling books are biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Roberto Clemente, and Vince Lombardi, and a trilogy about the 1960s—Rome 1960; Once in a Great City (winner of the RFK Book Prize); and They Marched into Sunlight (winner of the J. Anthony Lucas Prize and Pulitzer Finalist in History). A Good American Family is his twelfth book. Visit him at www.DavidMaraniss.com.
In a riveting book with powerful resonance today, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss captures the pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.
Elliott Maraniss, David’s father, a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-black comp