Pulitzer Prize–winning author and “one of our most talented biographers and historians” (The New York Times) David Maraniss delivers a “thoughtful, poignant, and historically valuable story of the Red Scare of the 1950s” (The Wall Street Journal) through the chilling yet affirming story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.
Elliott Maraniss, David’s father, a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-black company in the Pacific, was spied on by the FBI, named as a communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet he never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact.
In a sweeping drama that moves from the Depression and Spanish Civil War to the HUAC hearings and end of the McCarthy era, Maraniss weaves his father’s story through the lives of his inquisitors and defenders as they struggle with the vital 20th-century issues of race, fascism, communism, and first amendment freedoms. “Remarkably balanced, forthright, and unwavering in its search for the truth” (The New York Times), A Good American Family evokes the political dysfunctions of the 1950s while underscoring what it really means to be an American. It is “clear-eyed and empathetic” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) tribute from a brilliant writer to his father and the family he protected in dangerous times.
David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and was a finalist three other times. Among his bestselling books are biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Roberto Clemente, and Vince Lombardi, and a trilogy about the 1960s—Rome 1960; Once in a Great City (winner of the RFK Book Prize); and They Marched into Sunlight (winner of the J. Anthony Lucas Prize and Pulitzer Finalist in History). A Good American Family is his twelfth book.