A Good American Family

  • Type: Books
  • By: David Maraniss
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • Recommended by: Lynn H.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781501178382
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The account of how journalist David Maraniss’s father was caught up in the Red Scare of the 1950s.

A Good American Family by David Maraniss
This tale revolves around a time and place: March 12, 1952, room 740 of the Federal Building in Detroit, Michigan.  Newsman Elliott Maraniss was summoned to appear before the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) based on accusations of being a communist.  Like so many others who were brought before this congressional committee that was championed by Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin, Elliott Maraniss was essentially blacklisted from employment for a number of years following his hearing, moving his young family from state to state in search of employment.  These are the known facts to his son, award-winning journalist and author David Maraniss, who examines the years leading up to the hearing and tries to make sense of his father’s past and the zeitgeist of mid- 20th century America.
David Maraniss weaves family artifacts, interviews, federal records, and other sources into a narrative that strikes the reader for the in-depth examination of history as much as for his tender yet balanced assessment of his father.  While I knew about the Red Scare of the 1950s, I didn’t realize that hearings were held in Detroit and involved future mayor Coleman Young.  The details of the author’s parents and extended family brought the story to a personal and relatable level and I especially enjoyed reading the wartime letters that Elliott Maraniss sent to his wife, the author’s mother.  
This title is available in print and as an eBook through Overdrive.