Rick Winston has written a new book called Red Scare in the Green Mountains. What happened in Vermont when the anti-Communist fear known as the “Red Scare” swept the country? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Winston explores some forgotten history as we see how a small, rural “rock-ribbed Republican” state with a historically libertarian streak handled the hysteria of the time. Far from the klieg lights of Washington D.C., Hollywood, and New York City, the Green Mountain state challenged the national narrative with its own fascinating stories. The book recounts nine of the most gripping dramas played out in Vermont during “scoundrel time,” including a high-profile academic firing, courageous newspaper editors who spoke out against McCarthy’s tactics, a conservative senator who helped take down Joseph McCarthy, and – the subject of his talk in Randolph – a controversy involving left-leaning summer residents of Bethel and Randolph Center. Now, as our country again experiences a political atmosphere charged with intolerance, condemnation, and widespread falsehoods, this book could not be more timely.
Rick Winston grew up in Yonkers, New York, and attended both Columbia University and University of California, Berkeley. He arrived in Adamant, Vermont in 1970, and still lives there. He started Montpelier’s Lightning Ridge Film Society in 1972. That became the Savoy Theater in 1981, which soon established Montpelier as a mecca for lovers of foreign, independent, and generally off-beat films. He may be known to Randolph audiences as the curator of a yearly film series at the Chandler Music Hall. He is currently teaching film history in several places, including Community College of Vermont. His long-standing interest in the Red Scare era led him to become one of the organizers of the 1998 Montpelier conference, “Vermont in the McCarthy Era.”
Mr. Winston will speak and sign copies of his book at the White River Craft Center on Wednesday, October 17th, at 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served. This event is sponsored by Kimball Public Library, Bethel Public Library and The White River Craft Center, which is located in the Kimball House at the end of Randolph Avenue, #50. The house was built in 1887 as the home of Colonel Robert J. Kimball who built Kimball Library for the town of Randolph in 1903.
This program is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, please contact Lynne Gately at Kimball Library, 728-5073, or Kevin Harty at the White River Craft Center, 728-8292.