Suspect Red – Commies and the Red Scare

What a great middle grade book! Set in the 50s during the Red Scare and the height of McCarthyism, Suspect Red follows a young Richard as he tries to understand commies, being loyal to friends, and loyal to his country.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy historical fiction set during the Red Scare
  • Are in the mood for well-written MG

TitleSuspect Red Author: L.M. Elliott  | Rating: 4/5

What a great middle grade book! Set in the 50s during the Red Scare and the height of McCarthyism, Suspect Red follows a young Richard as he tries to understand commies, being loyal to friends, and loyal to his country.

It’s 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard’s father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard’s age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.

Richard’s dad, Don, is a G-man, a government man, working for the FBI under Hoover. He’s made mistakes in the past, like losing potential spies, and he wants to re-earn his trust with the Bureau.

Richard wants to make new friends and find someone his own age who loves reading and music like he does.

So when Vlad moves in next door, Richard thinks he’s found a new friend. Problem is: Vlad and his family are from Czechoslovakia and may be commies.

When Vlad goes to NYC with Vlad and his family, Richard notices a few strange things: Vlad’s mom is seen with strange men in trenchcoats, has artist friends who say things against McCarthy, and are overall “suspicious.”

Richard tells his dad.

Eager to undo his past, Don has Vlad’s home bugged, and the FBI soon swoops in, accusing Vlad’s mother as a potential commie and spy.

Well-researched, along with photos, headlines, and historical notes, Suspect Red is a great historical fiction read! Even though it’s middle grade, I still enjoyed reading it and learned a bit more about life during the Red Scare. The historical backdrop is woven deftly throughout the story, and at the end, there’s a list of resources for further reading.

If you love Red Scare history, want a faster read, and love fiction, Suspect Red is a great read.

One thought on “Suspect Red – Commies and the Red Scare

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.