Updated: Nov 30, 2020
In 1953, when teenager Gib Evans returns to Portland, Oregon, after years living at the border with Communist East Germany, he has good reason to fear communists. He watched the starvation and murder that happened on the other side of the barbed-wire fence near his town.
But when Gib writes an anti-communist essay for his journalism class, it is used to persuade Portland schools to force teachers to sign a loyalty oath that is advertised as a way to uncover hidden communist spies.
Gib’s Quaker parents and his favorite science teacher refuse to sign an oath that denies their right to the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Teachers who refuse to sign are fired, harassed and threatened with harm.
Gib and his classmates learn that fear wields frightening power. To save loved ones from harm, they must discover the purposes of those who sell fear to control others. The greatest danger for the friends comes when they expose the true financial and power motives of the people who pretend to be saving the country from communism.
What Others Say about Scapegoat: The Price of Freedom
Scapegoat is tale of Gilbert Evans, a boy struggling to make sense of life in the early years of the Cold War. The threat of Communism looms and paranoia is the order of the day, both for Gilbert and for America itself.
In a tale with roots in post-war Germany and Portland, Oregon, Rae Richen evokes a world both familiar and strange, from a time before high-def and the internet yet rife with conflicts not so different from today’s.
By shining a light on how we gave in to our darkest urges when McCarthyism ran hot and trust ran cold, Richen artfully illustrates both the human cost of fear and the power of hope.
-Bill Cameron, award winning author of County Line and other Skin mysteries