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Red Sapphire: The Woman Who Beat The Blacklist

Published Date: July 17, 2023

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In 1950, facing artistic and legal persecution by Senator Joe McCarthy because of her inclusion on Louis Budenz’s list of four hundred concealed communists, single mother Hannah Weinstein fled to Europe. There, she built a television studio and established her own production company, Sapphire Films, then surreptitiously hired scores of such blacklisted writers as Waldo Salt, Ian McLellan Hunter, Adrian Scott, and Ring Lardner Jr., and “Trojan-horsed” democratic ideals back to the United States through more than three hundred half-hours of programming, making a fortune in the process. With the exception of a French producer, no other woman on the continent was creating television content at this time, and Weinstein was the only one who was head of her own studio. Before she became one of the more powerful independent production forces in 1950s British television, Hannah Weinstein had a distinguished career as a journalist, publicist, and left-wing political activist. She worked for the New York Herald Tribune from 1927, then began a career in politics when she joined Fiorello H. La Guardia’s New York mayoral campaign in 1937. She also organized the press side of the presidential campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt and later (in 1948) of Henry Wallace.


Using declassified FBI and CIA files, interviews, and the personal papers of blacklisted writers and other sources, Red Sapphire depicts how for the better part of a decade, Weinstein was a leader in the Left’s battle with the Right to shape popular culture during the Cold War . . . a battle that she eventually won.

Author Information

Julia Bricklin is the award-winning biographer several important figures in United States history, including female sharpshooter Lillian Frances Smith (University of Oklahoma Press: April 2017) trailblazing reporter Nell Campbell, aka “Polly Pry” (TwoDot Books: September 2018) and Ned Buntline, creator of the celebrity of Buffalo Bill Cody. Bricklin occasionally writes true crime, notably BLONDE RATTLESNAKE, the story of Los Angeles’s most notorious figures in Prohibition-era Los Angeles. She is a frequent contributor well-respected commercial and academic journals and digital publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Zócalo Public Square,, Civil War Times, Financial History, and California History.