World War II Era Radio Drama and the Postwar Broadcasting Industry Blacklist (Studies And Documentation In The History Of Popular Entertainment
Words at War describes how seventeen radio dramatists and their
actors fought a war of words against fascism abroad and injustice at home.
Beginning in the late 1930s, the commercial networks, private agencies, and the
government cooperated with radio dramatists to produce plays to alert Americans
to the Nazi threat. They also used radio to stimulate morale. They showed how
Americans could support the fight against fascism even if it meant just having
a "victory garden." After the War ended, however, when the same radio actors
and writers continued producing radio shows in the same political vein,
veterans' groups, the FBI, right wing politicians and other reactionaries
mounted an assault on them that went into full force after the war in a partly
successful effort to drive them out of their professions. Words at War
discusses commercial drama series such as The Man Behind the Gun, network
sustained shows such as those of Norman Corwin, and government-produced
programs such as the Uncle Sam series. The book is largely based on the
author's interviews with Norman Corwin, Arthur Miller, Pete Seeger, Arthur
Laurents, Art Carney and dozens of others associated with radio during its
Golden Age. It also discusses public reaction to these broadcasts and the issue
of blacklisting. The book weaves together materials from FBI files and
materials from archives around the country, including the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences, the National Archives and a dozen university special
collection libraries, to tell how the nation used a unique broadcast genre in a
time of national crisis. Readers in the era of the current World Trade Center
terrorism crisis will be particularly interested to read about censorship,
scapegoating, and the government's role in disseminating propaganda and other
issues that have once again come to public attention.
". . . .
masterly, . . . . . . Blue stands with Barnouw and Dunning, and that is high
rank indeed." Norman Corwin
"enthralling, documented, and thoroughly "reader friendly" . . .
Midwest Book Review
"This may well be
the best book on American radio ever written." Paul Buhle, Brown University,
author of Popular Culture in America, etc.
"A fascinating story told in a compelling fashion." Ken Mueller,
Radio Curator, The Museum of Television &Radio
". . . a tour de force of research and writing, . . . "
Prof. Tim Crook. Goldsmith' s College, University of London
" . . . an outstanding contribution to the literature
on civil rights . . . " David Honig, Exec. Director, Minority Media &
probing and indispensable contribution to the history of American radio." Paul
Heyer, Wilfrid Laurier University
The book retails $30.95 with Postage and Handling.