David Maraniss: A Good American Family (A University Club of Chicago Event)

Journalist Jim Warren will be in conversation Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss to discuss A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father. Mr. Maraniss's 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. Books will be available for sale at the University Club luncheon, and Mr. Maraniss will be signing copies at the conclusion of the event. 

This is a ticketed luncheon. For more information or to make your reservation, please call The Book Stall at 847-446-8880.  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.

James Warren is Executive Editor of NewsGuard. He came from the Poynter Institute, where he served as chief media writer and also authored an early morning newsletter (the “Warren Report”) that was co-published by Vanity Fair. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for the New York Daily News.

Warren spent the largest part of his career with the Chicago Tribune, where he was managing editor after a variety of reporting and editing roles. After leaving the paper, he served as publisher of the alternative weekly Chicago Reader, and was a co-founder of the nonprofit Chicago News Cooperative. He has also been a freelance contributor to The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, Time, Washington Monthly and Daily Beast, as well as a longtime regular analyst on cable news networks. He graduated from Amherst College and received a masters in political philosophy from Roosevelt University.

We are also hosting Mr. Maraniss at 6:30 PM at The Book Stall this same evening. 

Event date: 

Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Event address: 

The University Club of Chicago
76 E. Monroe
Chicago, IL 60603
A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501178375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now....best to call before coming in to pick up.
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 14th, 2019

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