Robert Brent Toplin is the author of several books about history, politics, and film including Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood; History by Hollywood; Radical Conservatism: The Right's Political Religion; Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11": How One Film Divided a Nation; and Oliver Stone's USA: Film, History, and Controversy. Toplin served as editor of film reviews for the Journal of American History as well as "Masters of the Movies," a series of articles in the American Historical Association's Perspectives on History. Toplin made numerous appearances as a commentator on history for CBS Television, PBS Television, the History Channel, C-SPAN, the Turner Classic Movies Channel, and National Public Radio. He served as a principal creator of historical dramas that appeared nationally on PBS Television, the Disney Channel, and the Starz Network. He was professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and at Denison University, and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia.
Senator Joseph McCarthy rose to prominence in early 1950s by stoking fears about communism. McCarthy had many critics, yet he managed to keep them off-balance and expand his influence for several years. What explains McCarthy’s popularity? Which developments in domestic and international affairs facilitated his rise? To what degree was McCarthy’s decline in 1954 due to his mistakes or to changing conditions in American society and politics? Toplin addresses these questions and considers the relevance of this story to our times.