- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 20 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: ACX
- Audible.com Release Date: June 20, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01H5K0WAU
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Hollywood: Red, White & Blue Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Top Customer Reviews
This "biography of a family who lived in Hollywood...(during)... the era of the Red Scare" provides a close up view of what happened to thousands of regular people. Most of the literature and films about victims of the Anti-Communist hysteria in the USA from 1945-1960 are "about famous Hollywood figures... and...high government officials who" lost their jobs and more " because of Communist Party connections, real or imagined..."
While dealing with all these serious subjects, Schreiber brings his wry sense of humor to this down-to-earth history of his family. How they came to the USA, their early years on the East Coast, and the major move to Hollywood set the scene for an unexpected struggle. The detailed description of all the players is a bit daunting, but well worth the effort. The pictures of the family are helpful in that process.
We can feel their pain as Schreiber gives us the details of how this American Jewish family survived despite major obstacles. Obstacles like the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover and the hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Their success in fighting back is a welcome reminder that we can get through tough times and that we can overcome powerful forces.
The last three chapters provide a poignant conclusion to the family's biography. How did the extended Schreiber family deal with their success? What became of all the players in this drama? The book's last chapter does indeed bring the story "Full Circle." The diary is full, the book is complete.
HOLLYWOOD - RED, WHITE & BLUE provides both deep background and straightforward description of what happened to regular people during the Red Scare. In the face of overpowering forces there were some people who successfully survived. The Schreiber family story tells us how an "ordinary family fought back and won." That places them among the relatively few who, while damaged almost beyond repair, came back and thrived.
As a fellow academic, I didn't expect the book to be this interesting and easy to read. Roy Schreiber is the consummate academic. While the quality of his research for the book is superb, his writing style leaves out all the academic jargon.
Reviewed by Keith Knauss, Professor Emeritus of Labor Studies
We may think we have some knowledge of the Red Scare of the 1950s--Joe McCarthy and his televised hearings rooting out communists from the State Department, or the House Un-American Activities Committee and its purging of communists in public profile positions in education and the entertainment industry. As an American historian I am familiar with the broad overview, as I regularly teach about this in the second half of the American survey. I have reviewed a few books that center on the time and the events in question. But this is at best an intellectual understanding of the subject; Hollywood: Red White and Blue provides a much more intimate, personal view of those days.
I knew the author when we were both kids living on Francis Lewis Blvd, a quiet middle class neighborhood in Queens, New York. Most of the men got up in the morning and rode the subway to Manhattan where they worked until late afternoon and the ride home. My father followed this routine, although he went only as far as Brooklyn. Our block consisted of five single family houses built in the early 1930s before the builder went bankrupt in the Great Depression. After World War II row houses were built at both ends of the block. My parents and two older brothers lived in the southernmost house while five doors north lived Roy, his younger brother Barry, and his parents, along with his Uncle Bob and his maternal grandmother. The boys and I attended the neighborhood elementary school, learning and playing. If I knew Roy was Jewish (I was a Congregationalist at the time--theological descendents of the people who came over on the Mayflower), it meant nothing to me. He was fun to play with. Before we finished elementary school the Schreibers moved to Los Angeles. We exchanged a few letters and then lost touch until decades later when he was on Long Island to attend a wedding. Driving through Queens, on a whim he stopped on the old block, assuming my parents still lived there. By this time he had earned a Ph.D. in English history, learning that I was working on a similar degree in American history. We reconnected and have been in contact ever since.
I knew Roy's family of course. I played at his house and he played at mine. But we were kids, and unlike Roy I was, then and today, largely apolitical. If I even knew at the time what a communist was, and I don't think I did until after his family had moved away, I certainly would not have considered them in that camp. Yet his Uncle Jerry, a still photographer who worked for some of the major motion picture studios, had briefly flirted with the American communist party. His sister, Roy's mother, had no such association but she did have a government civil service position. As the Red Scare became more of an issue Roy's uncle was blacklisted and fired. Then as a clear case of guilt by association Roy's mother lost her secretarial position with the Air Force. This resulted in economic chaos for Roy and his family, something I fortunately never suffered.
This is interesting on several levels. Woven together are Roy's own development as a political activist and an idealist and the tragic story of the impact of false accusations of communist leanings on an innocent family. But of the greatest importance are the far reaching implications of what was to most of us, myself included, simply an historic event. That has forever changed for me--now what happened then is personal. I know Roy, I knew his uncle and his mother (along with the rest of his family) and as an American I am ashamed of how my country treated them. This is no difference of opinion; nothing like the opening anecdote of Roy's traveling to a nearby Indiana town to debate the American involvement in the Vietnam War. This was a witch hunt, and neither his uncle nor his mother were witches. They were very average people who lived very average lives until their world turned upside down. That's what makes this so interesting. While in the end both were exonerated, with his mother's job being restored and she receiving back pay with interest, it does not wipe away the struggle.
Duncan R. Jamieson Ashland University