Fifty years ago, McCarthyism silenced Hollywood. Now those who were suppressed finally have their say. In the pages of Tender Comrades, more than 30 blacklisted survivors, among them Ring Lardner, Jr. and Martin Ritt, tell their stories. 32 photos.
The book is also immensely informative and even quite funny at times. It vividly presents an amazing array of personalities and is arguably the most affecting, revealing and far-reaching volume about the most shameful chapter in Hollywood's history
Tender Comrades is required reading. We are all indebted to Patrick McGilligan and Paul Buhle for gathering these testimonials, which are true profiles in courage.
To those of you who have been assailed by America's peculiarly virulent strain of anti-communism, read the book. It won't make a communist of you, but it will give you second thoughts about a political culture that regularly demonizes its opposition, whoever that may be. The interviews reveal not only an America that was, but in many ways an America that still is. The individual stories themselves are fascinating. The names are ones you may have seen briefly on a late night movie credit crawl. Here they come alive in their own words; names and faces that were on the screen one day, then gone the next. Not celebrities, but the kind of people who made movies memorable because they brought more than varying degrees of talent to their work, they brought social concern.
I hope the authors soon bring us a similar volume on non-Hollywood victims of the purges, of which, I gather, there were thousands. Folks without marquee names, but with their own stories to tell about how the world was made safe for democracy.