McCarthy’s brush with Harvard examined in new book ‘Demagogue’

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 16:10 in Psychology & Sociology

The following is excerpted from the new book “Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy” by Larry Tye. The fear-mongering and reckless accusations associated with Joseph R. McCarthy were said to have died with the senator half a century ago, but anyone paying attention today knows that the spirit of McCarthyism lives on. What is less well known is that Harvard University’s incoming president in 1953 was one of McCarthy’s favorite targets, with new records and interviews making clear that Nathan Marsh Pusey went further than most, if not as far as he might have, in defying America’s archetypal bully. Pusey, who earned three degrees at Harvard in literature and history, was a devoutly religious Iowan, raised by a widowed mother on her $65-a-week salary as a school principal. When Harvard named him its 24th president, the 46-year-old Pusey was presiding over Lawrence University, a selective, under-appreciated college...

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