Haynes Johnson's concise biography of fear mongering and red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy will stand the test of time. Johnson recounts "Tailgunner" Joe's life with precision detail. McCarthy was a strange character who suffered many internal demons which Johnson illuminates that led him to become a tyrant. I suggest this book as a point of reference for understanding the fear which encapsulated the 1950s concerning the threat of expanding communism and the doomsday technology mass-created by the Cold War.
One drawback to the work is Johnson's comparison in the latter half of the book of McCarthyism with post-9/11 anti-Islamic sentiment. Post-9/11 sentiment can be manufactured to fit any perspective. While it is difficult to assess the national sentiment in a comparison such as this, perhaps a better assessment might be to produce a ethnographic monograph of American anti-Islamic sentiment that occurred after 9/11. Only then could an accurate comparison be considered. Where Johnson succeeds in presenting a concise portrait of McCarthy, he falls short in capturing an accurate portrayal of anti-Islamic sentiment. To be sure, anti-Islamic sentiment was ubiquitous post-9/11; however, more research is warranted before any comparison can be leveled.