The Amerasia Spy Case

Prelude to McCarthyism

By Harvey Klehr, Ronald Radosh

The Amerasia Spy Case

280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6251-3
    Published: November 2000

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The Amerasia affair was the first of the great spy cases of the postwar era. In June 1945, six people associated with the magazine Amerasia were arrested by the FBI and accused of espionage on behalf of the Chinese Communists. But only two, the editor of Amerasia and a minor government employee, were convicted of any offense, and their convictions were merely for unauthorized possession of government documents. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh provide a full-scale history of the first public drama featuring charges that respectable American citizens had spied for the Communists. The Amerasia case remained a staple in American political life for the next half-decade. It provoked charges by conservatives of a cover-up of extensive Communist infiltration of the government and accusations by liberals of a witch-hunt designed to intimidate the press. And it played a significant role in the hearings held to examine Senator Joseph McCarthy's charge that the State Department had been infiltrated by a clique of 'card carrying Communists.' Klehr and Radosh, the first researchers to have obtained the FBI files on the case, show that a cover-up was indeed orchestrated by prominent government officials.

About the Authors

Harvey Klehr, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Politics at Emory University, is coauthor of The Secret World of American Communism and author of many other books.
For more information about Harvey Klehr, visit the Author Page.

Ronald Radosh is Senior Olin Professor of History at Adelphi University and coauthor of The Rosenberg File: The Search for the Truth.

For more information about Ronald Radosh, visit the Author Page.


"[The] wonderful material enables readers to see many of the participants with their pants down. . . . Anyone with an open mind and a taste for deception will find [this book] valuable, even gripping."--New York Times Book Review

"[An] intriguing account of an all but forgotten episode in Cold War history. . . . This academic study is uncommon for its liveliness and important for all students of the Cold War at home."--Kirkus Reviews


"This is an absorbing book, built on solid sources, engagingly written, and balanced. It deserves wide attention."--Pacific Historical Review

"As Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh illustrate in their fascinating study, the historical record is often nuanced, ambiguous, and ironic."--Journal of American History

"The Amerasia Spy Case is a fascinating account of espionage and intrigue. It makes an invaluable contribution to the literature of American legal history by explaining why a case that might have given rise to one of America's most important political trials never made it to the courtroom."--H-Law