Protecting the Myth of the Ivory Tower

If nothing else, Roger L. Geiger's review of my book about McCarthyism and the universities, No Ivory Tower, shows how controversial the topic remains (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 25). In his attempt to sustain the myth that the academic community protected its members from McCarthyism, Geiger distorts the evidence. His seemingly precise discussion of the main academic freedom cases of the 1950s alludes to some, but not all, of the dismissals noted in the book (themselves only a sample

Ellen Schrecker
Jan 25, 1987
If nothing else, Roger L. Geiger's review of my book about McCarthyism and the universities, No Ivory Tower, shows how controversial the topic remains (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 25). In his attempt to sustain the myth that the academic community protected its members from McCarthyism, Geiger distorts the evidence. His seemingly precise discussion of the main academic freedom cases of the 1950s alludes to some, but not all, of the dismissals noted in the book (themselves only a sample of the dozens of firings that occurred during the McCarthy years). Furthermore, Geiger does not deal with the rest of the purge.

He does not, for example, mention the academic community's blacklist. Only a few of the professors who lost their jobs because of McCarthyism could find new ones. The others, denied academic employment for nearly 10 years, either left the United States or gave up...