Invigorating and wide-ranging scholarship... The heart of Cold War, Cool Medium is a lively and compelling retelling of the effect of McCarthyism on television.
[A] seriously intelligent history.
Cold War, Cool Medium, by Thomas Doherty, ranks as one of the seminal books ever written about the history of television and politics in the USA.....Doherty brilliantly challenges this conventional wisdom and indeed turns it upside down. He skillfully, systematically, and clearly demonstrates that early television helped the USA become a more tolerant nation, and provided for more open discussion.
(Douglas Gomery Television Quarterly
Doherty's Cold War, Cool Medium earns its place as a subtle new map of America's politics during television's toddler years. It offers fine-grained images for television's political pontification and purifications from the late 1940s to mid-1950s.... For the study of this awkward period in America's television culture, it is hard to imagine a better text for discussions with students. Colleagues who lived in that era will read it with pained appreciation.
(John Shelton Lawrence Journal of American Culture
fresh and important insights...an accurate and engrossing account for the nonspecialist, and its methodology provides a revealing context for the specialist as well
(Brenda Murphy The Journal of American History
thoughtful and nuanced
(Michael C. C. Adams Film & History
Thomas Doherty's groundbreaking new volume, Cold War, Cool Medium, [is] a sweeping examination of the collision of television and McCarthyism, and one of the most searching looks at the intersection of popular and political culture in years.
Doherty's excellent Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture [is] more timely than its title suggests.... [Doherty] has penned an engaging revisionist account of mass hysteria, forcefully arguing against critics who cast television in its early days as a co-conspirator in conducting witch hunts and stifling dissent.... Doherty's history of the early political uses of television is never less than fascinating.
A witty, often riveting account of the simultaneous rise of television and McCarthy.
Explores TV's wonders and skillfully exposes the power of pressure groups on the new medium, which acted out the psychosis that dominated the 1950s. Relying on thorough and enlightening research, Doherty notes the ironies, anti-Semitism and class prejudices that underlined Senator Joseph McCarthy's ascension.... Doherty chronicles the medium and its players with style and scholarship.
A wide-ranging, impressionistic portrait of the era... Mr. Doherty, a professor of American studies at Brandeis University and a noted film historian, deftly recaps this familiar story.
(New York Observer
Doherty succeeds in illuminating both the history of television in the US in the 1950s and television's relationship to the era's anticommunist crusade.... this volume carefully examines the often-overlooked political side of 1950s television. Essential.
Cold War, Cool Medium is an excellent overview of television and American culture at a pivotal moment in United States history. It is also wittily written, with Doherty's sense of humour and irony coming through on nearly every page.
(Jennifer Frost, University of Auckland Australasian Journal of American Studies
It is not only readable, enlightening and amusing, it does what all good books on the televisual Cold War should do: it can distinguish between hype and substance.
(Adam Piette Journal of American Studies
Doherty delivers an enlightening and critical reassessment of television, culture, and politics in the early 1950's.
(Michael Curtin American Historical Review
Cold War, Cool Medium is an engaging and complex account of US commercial television during the 1950's.
(Megan Mullen Technology and Culture
[A] superbly written analysis of the link between the rise of American television and the fall of Senator McCarthy.
(Vincent Brook American Studies
Cold War, Cool Medium is engagingly written, offering prose that is brimming with wit and insight.
(Christine Becker Film Quarterly