Forge, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
by Jerry Ludwig is a fictional rendering of the time of Senator Joe McCarthy and his witch hunt for communists in the United States. After World War II, he became obsessed with the possibility of communists taking over the country and was determined to root them out.
uring the Depression in the thirties, the Communist Party signed up many people who thought they would help get the country back on its feet. Often they saw the error of their ways and walked out of Party meetings, leaving communism behind.
ust an accusation from McCarthy that a person was a communist was enough to put that person on the BLACKLIST – a truly terrible place to be. McCarthy pointed at Hollywood and ruined lives and reputations with reckless abandon. The man was obsessed. Those whom he accused testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and later said they did so out of desperation and fear.
f the man's finger pointed at you, you either admitted that you were or were once a communist and ratted out others or you submitted to his judgment. All avenues to earn a living were denied those who were outed. Friends named friends just to keep their jobs so they could support their families. Others refused to play McCarthy's game. They were ostracized and often left the country. The style of living they had earned was gone overnight. Some committed suicide. It took years to walk the long miles back to putting their own names on their work – be it actor, producer, director, writer or the other jobs that it took to produce a movie.
will make you sit up and take notice. I am old enough to remember watching television during this time and wondering how McCarthy got to the position where he had the power to unjustifiably ruin so many lives. I ground my teeth and found myself repeating that useless act. A shameful time in the United States.
hile Ludwig uses fictional names, he writes from researched fact. And does it well. He follows the story of two good friends who come up against McCarthy. One kept quiet on the stand. The other named names, one of which was his friend's. Friends no longer. Their lives continued, but on separate paths.
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