Red Sapphire: The Woman Who Beat the Blacklist

Lyons: Globe Pequot. Sept. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781493061877. $29.95. BIOG
Bricklin (The Notorious Life of Ned Buntline) rescues from obscurity the career of Hannah Dorner Weinstein (1911–84), a U.S. journalist and founder of Hollywood’s left-leaning Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions. During the anti-Communist Blacklist period of the 1950s, Weinstein voluntarily exiled herself to France and the UK and established her own production company, Sapphire Films. The book guides readers through the convoluted trails of the Communist Party USA, which adherents and their allies followed. Utilizing declassified FBI and CIA files, interviews, and archival materials, the book adds the complex Weinstein to the list of those whose work was blacklisted but later exonerated in the cultural industries. Weinstein hired blacklisted writers for her short films and TV work that portrayed iconoclastic characters challenging deleterious stereotypes of politically or culturally marginalized groups. Bricklin emphasizes that Weinstein retained a commitment to promoting progressive causes, especially via mass communications.
VERDICT Written with the pulsating pace of a thriller, this book will likely attract readers and scholars interested in political journalism, women in film and television, and mid-20th-century pop culture history.
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