Anti-Communism and Popular Culture in Mid-Century America


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About the Book

Not long after the Allied victories in Europe and Japan, America’s attention turned from world war to cold war. The perceived threat of communism had a definite and significant impact on all levels of American popular culture, from government propaganda films like Red Nightmare in Time magazine to Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
This work examines representations of anti-communist sentiment in American popular culture from the early fifties through the mid-sixties. The discussion covers television programs, films, novels, journalism, maps, memoirs, and other works that presented anti-communist ideology to millions of Americans and influenced their thinking about these controversial issues. It also points out the different strands of anti-communist rhetoric, such as liberal and countersubversive ones, that dominated popular culture in different media, and tells a much more complicated story about producers’ and consumers’ ideas about communism through close study of the cultural artifacts of the Cold War.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Cyndy Hendershot is an associate professor of English at Arkansas State University and the author of four books of literary criticism (including this one). She has published articles in Science-Fiction Studies, Mosaic, and Literature and Psychology and other journals.

Bibliographic Details

Cyndy Hendershot
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 183
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1440-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8369-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii

Introduction     1

1 The Seduction of Communism     9

2 Paranoiac Discourse and Anti–Communism     18

3 Internal and External Communism in Popular Film     27

4 The Individual Russian and the Communist System     40

5 Anti–Communism and Ambivalence in Science Fiction     52

6 Criminals and Communists in Fifties Popular Culture     67

7 Anti–Communism and Movie Serials     76

8 Cold War Parody     83

9 Nuclear Apocalypse and Anti–Communism     97

10 Cold War Confessions and the FBI Plant     108

11 Anti–Communism and the Business World     121

12 The Bear and the Dragon: Representations of Communism in Early 1960s American Culture  130

Conclusion     144

Notes     153

Works Cited     163

Index     171

Book Reviews & Awards

“easy to read…a valuable contribution…well organized…interesting…will give reader food for thought”—Utopian Studies.