—Gay Today (Raj Ayyar Gay Today )
-—Richard Labonte, Book Marks
-—Dallas Morning News
—Kevin Riordan, Washington Blade
-—Fiona Paton, American Quarterly
—Lawrence Reynods, Gay & Lesbian Review
—John Howard, GLQ
—Aaron L. Bachhofer, Archives of Sexuality
—Ellen Schrecker, American Communist History
"Johnson''s work assures that we shall never again be able to think about the anticommunist crusade without acknowledging its fierce counterpart that affected the lives of so many people."
—Leila J. Rupp, Journal of American History
“Fifty years ago, gays ‘confronted a degree of policing and harassment that is almost unimaginable to us today’ and which now is almost entirely forgotten. David K. Johnson’s The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government is a heart-wrenching reminder that homosexuals faced brutal employment discrimination and endless police hostility.”
—David J. Garrow, Los Angeles Times
"A riveting history of gay-baiting in the McCarthy era"—In These Times (In These Times ) "Johnson''s dazzling social and political history puts the Cold War persecution of gays and lesbians center stage to highlight how the social and cultural anxieties around gender and sexuality dovetailed with the nation''s state-building project in the post-World War II era."
—Steve Valocchi, American Journal of Sociology
"An important book, one that promises to reorient the historical scholarship on the Cold War."
---Robert J. Corber American Historical Review
“By utilizing an impressive array of primary sources and integrating political, social, and cultural history, historian David Johnson provides us with a much needed, in-depth analysis. . . . A valuable contribution to our understanding of the Cold War and those who became victims of the national security state. It corrects certain misconceptions about the targets of McCarthyism to reveal that homosexuals were a unique focus in a parallel witch hunt to those who did not conform to 1950s society and beyond."
--Douglas M. Charles, H-Net Reviews
“An important work of gay scholarship that proves, once and for all, that the Lavender Scare was not a minor adjunct of the Red Scare, but a major government campaign in its own right. . . . The Lavender Scare is more than a great work of history. It is a cautionary tale.”
—Jesse Monteagudo, The Weekly News
From the Inside Flap
Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle.
The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of "national security" during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.