Excerpts from selected reviews of Dark Days in the Newsroom:
[A] meticulously researched historical study.... Alwood's [book] makes three significant contributions. First, through a far-reaching and painstaking analysis of FBI records...Alwood brings into the public domain new information on McCarthyism's conspiracy against the press and the FBI's complicity....Second, in providing constitutional context for this analysis, Alwood demonstrates the grave implications of the attacks on journalists' freedom of thought and association....Finally...Alwood reminds us that the Constitution remains a tenuous shield against government assault on civil liberties. - American Studies
It is meticulourly and painstakingly researched... The book serves as a model of historical method, as an ethics text, and as a slice of best-not-forgotten media history. - Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
The central thesis is facinating... Alwood's concise and provocative book is a welcomed addition to journalism history and the history of McCarthyism. - Journalism
Every serious journalist should read this fascinating, superbly researched, thoroughly documented, and invaluable historical account of a frightening, sustained and vicious assault on robust journalism?an assault that has great resonance today. - Nieman Reports ( Full review.)
The central thesis is facinating... Alwood's concise and provocative book is a welcome addition to journalism history and the history of McCarthyism. - Journalism
[Alwood] provides yet another case study documenting the evils of 'McCarthyism.' [He] demonstrates very effectively . . . that the 'dark days in the newsroom' were caused more by frightened journalists, craven publishers, and short-sighted labor union leaders than they were by subpoenas and hectoring congressmen. - Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Edward Alwood, an associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University and a former correspondent for CNN, seeks to restore front-page prominence to the newspaper journalists, tabloid and broadsheet, who had their by-lines tarnished and erased during the Cold War.... A crisp and informative study. . . . Alwood has a good eye for the human interest sidebar featuring forgotten heroes, sniveling opportunists, compromised characters, and collateral damage. - The Journal of American History
This easy-to-read work is an excellent reminder of what can happen if we doze at our journalistic posts, if we lose sight of the fact that the best protection for a free press is itself, and of an instance in history - sadly, one of many - when mob mentality trumped reason and law. - Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
A valuable, thorough study of the anti-Communist purge of the press.... In a post-9/11 world, Alwood asserts, efforts to muzzle the press, sometimes with its acquiescence, make the happenings that he depicts no mere object of antiquarianism. - Journalism History
The strongest aspect of the book is the portrait of ruined lives?.Alwood?s book poignantly suggests how much more these journalists might have contributed, suggesting a history of what could have been, against a backdrop of the decline of American newspapers, as a younger generation of journalists shaped by technology looked upon the Newspaper Guild and its aging membership as a relic. Using the plight of Judith Miller as a reminder, however, Alwood shows the ongoing role of journalists in defending the First Amendment against government intrusion. - American Journalism
Winner: Edward Alwood, for his book Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press, a superb account of how the media reacted to the Republican senator from Wisconsin, and ... Sinners: Just about every major newspaper and magazine, which have ignored the book?probably because it highlights one of the most embarrassing episodes in the modern history of the American press.
- Charles Kaiser, Radar Online.
Under the cover of the anti-communism crusade, Alwood shows, were apprehensions regarding unionism and press coverage of the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. He traces the impact of the Eastland hearings and subsequent court cases about freedom of the press through the Valerie Plame case in summer 2005. This is a fascinating and detailed look at one aspect of the McCarthy era that continues to influence contemporary journalism. - Library Journal
Alwood's look back at the 1950s congressional investigations of communist infiltration of the press evokes a recent concern about the protections accorded under the First Amendment... This book is particularly evocative as the nation faces a debate about national security and press freedom. - Booklist
It is hard to conceptualize the tensions and fears of this era a half century later, but Alwood has done well. - Communication Booknotes Quarterly
Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press [is] an acute examination of how the press ? again with so few exceptions ? rolled over when Joe McCarthy, HUAC, Hoover?s FBI and other opportunistic knaves hounded and assailed everyone they claimed without evidence was promoting Communism in this country.
- History News Network
The CIA recently released about 900 declassifed pages which in part contain details of spying on journalists in the 1970s... Edward Alwood says it all has happened before. Alwood, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University, has written a chronicle of two decades of FBI investigations into alleged Communist activity and influence in the American Newspaper Guild... (He) spent five years looking through several thousand files - some 2,000 with the FBI alone. - New Haven Register
A fascinating historical look back to the founding of the [Newspaper] Guild and its critical embrace of direct political action?action so successful it made the union a leading target of McCarthyism. - Guild Reporter
Alwood has done a good job of enlightening those whose only knowledge of the rabid anti-Communism witch hunt is limited to Hollywood writers and the occasional TV newsman.
Alwood demonstrates that the hearings, while uncovering nothing resembling sedition, results in the firings of about a dozen newsmen who refused to fully respond to congressional inquiries (often about other people), and argues that their intimidating effect upon the press had long-lasting effects. - Choice