Resisting McCarthyism: To Sign or Not to Sign California's Loyalty Oath
- Publish Date: 2009-05-13
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Bob Blauner
Of the sixty-nine professors fired nationwide for political reasons during the McCarthy Era, nearly half were from the University of California. A small band of men and women at California's Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses defied the stranglehold of McCarthyism in a refusal to sign the non-communist loyalty oath required by the institution. While college professors across the nation meekly acquiesced to non-communist oaths in order to keep their jobs, this group of nonsigners resisted in defense of free speech. Revisiting a controversy considered one of the most important crises ever faced by an American university, Bob Blauner brings to life the stories of those who exhibited such civic courage. His account draws on new, previously untapped primary sources and interviews with surviving participants and their children. In a narrative that unfolds like a suspense thriller and with tragically flawed as well as heroic characters on both sides of the conflict, this incredible look at the beginnings of resistance within the California system reminds us of the importance of free speech and academic freedom in American culture. The legacy of these resisters and the fears of those engaged in the global fight against communism continue to resonate in contemporary society as we debate the meanings and obligations of freedom, patriotism, and civic duty.