The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!
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The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! : Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold War America

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At a time when Americans dedicate their national holidays to barbecues, sporting events, and driving madly on crowded interstate highways to vacation homes and theme parks, it may be difficult to remember an era when patriotic observance was a matter of high seriousness and legislated pageantry. But now the memory is restored in fascinating detail by Richard M. Fried in the eye-opening The Russians Are Coming! After summarizing such patriotic developments as the sanctification of the American flag and the wide-and occasionally coercive-acceptance of the Pledge of Allegiance, Fried describes how the Ad Council, the American Heritage Foundation, and other organizations created "campaigns to sell America to the Americans" through carefully constructed "rededication" celebrations like "Know Your America" Weeks, Freedom Weeks, and traveling exhibitions such as the Freedom Train, which in the late 1940s brought original copies of seminal American documents directly to cities and towns across the country. He vividly recreates the spectacle of clashing New York City parades involving thousands of participants, as celebrants of the newly-created Loyalty Day marched in opposition to pro-Communist May Day demonstrations just blocks away. Most startling, though, is Fried's account of how Mosinee, Wisconsin was "invaded" by Communists in a staged media event sponsored by the American Legion. Citizens allowed themselves to be searched at random while local officials acted the part of Stalinists, and the town restaurants were required to serve only potato soup and black bread. Meticulously researched and colourfully told, The Russians Are Coming! recreates an absorbing-and revealing-dimension of American history.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 236 pages
  • 138.2 x 208 x 18.3mm | 333.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 halftone
  • 0195134176
  • 9780195134179
  • 2,020,792

Review quote

Richard M. Fried's new book ... illuminates the public spectacles and pageantry which underlie the most colourful notions of the epoch between the end of the Second World War and the rise of a counter-culture. Fried ... uncovers the surprising partnership between national ideology and private civic associations that fuelled the era's patriotism. he skillfully traces the quasi-professional networks of concerned citizens who engineered many star-spangled extravaganzas. Without surrendering a sense of the comedy of Cold War pageantry, Fried brings historical rigour to a piece of social history that is too often exploited as camp. A fine picture emerges of the "soft", everyday propaganda that existed alongside the more widely documented, malign culture of McCarthyism. * Mark Greif, TLS *show more

About Richard M. Fried

Richard M. Fried is Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of Nightmare in Red.show more

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