A Good American Family by David Maraniss
Elliott Maraniss was a talented newspaperman when, in 1952, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for his communist affi liations. He lost his job and was blacklisted for five years, yet retained his faith in the United States and went on eventually to a successful career in journalism. In A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father (Simon & Schuster, $28), David Maraniss tells his dad’s story along with the stories of others who were in the Committee hearing room—members of the Committee, his dad’s lawyer, and the FBI informant who named him. Through these individual histories, Maraniss explores what it means to be an American. On one level, the book is a touching family tale about a son’s search for his father’s past, but on a larger level it’s a resonant story with enduring universal significance, a tale of courage, conviction, betrayal, political opportunism, reckoning, and ultimately American identity.