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Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War (Culture and Politics in the Cold War and Beyond) (Paperback)
Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War (Culture and Politics in the Cold War and Beyond) Cover Image
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Description


A person strapped to a polygraph machine. Nervous eyes, sweaty brow, the needle trembling up and down. Few images are more evocative of Cold War paranoia. In this first comprehensive history of the polygraph as a tool and symbol of American Cold War policies, John Philipp Baesler tells the story of a technology with weak scientific credentials that was nevertheless celebrated as a device that could expose both internal and external enemies. Considered the go-to technology to test agents' and employees' loyalty, the polygraph's true power was to expose deep ideological and political fault lines. While advocates praised it as America's hard-nosed yet fair answer to communist brainwashing, critics claimed that its use undermined the very values of justice, equality, and the presumption of innocence for which the nation stood. Clearer Than Truth demonstrates that what began as quick-fix technology promising a precise test of honesty and allegiance eventually came to embody tensions in American Cold War culture between security and freedom, concerns that reach deep into the present day.

About the Author


John Philipp Baesler is associate professor of history at Saginaw Valley State University.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781625343253
ISBN-10: 1625343256
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Pages: 324
Language: English
Series: Culture and Politics in the Cold War and Beyond