Upcoming Event

JPat Brown, B. C. D. Lipton, and Michael Morisy

present

Writers Under Surveillance:
The FBI Files

This event includes a book signing

Date

Oct
29
Monday
October 29, 2018
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes editors JPAT BROWN, B. C. D. LIPTON, and MICHAEL MORISY for a discussion of Writers Under Surveillance: The FBI Files.

About Writers Under Surveillance

Writers are dangerous. They have ideas. The proclivity of writers for ideas drove the FBI to investigate many of them―to watch them, follow them, start files on them. Writers under Surveillance gathers some of these files, giving readers a surveillance-state perspective on writers including Hannah Arendt, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, and Hunter S. Thompson.

Obtained with Freedom of Information Act requests by MuckRock, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing American history from the locked filing cabinets of government agencies, the files on these authors are surprisingly wide-ranging; the investigations were as broad and varied as the authors' own works. James Baldwin, for example, was so openly antagonistic to the state's security apparatus that investigators followed his every move. Ray Bradbury, on the other hand, was likely unaware that the Bureau had any interest in his work. (Bradbury was a target because an informant warned that science fiction was a Soviet plot to weaken American resolve.) Ernest Hemingway, true to form, drunkenly called the FBI Nazis and sissies. The files have been edited for length and clarity, but beyond that everything in the book is pulled directly from investigatory files. Some investigations lasted for years, others just a few days. Some are thrilling narratives. Others never really go anywhere. Some are funny, others quite harrowing. Despite the federal government's periodic admission of past wrongdoing, investigations like these will probably continue to happen. Like all that seems best forgotten, the Bureau's investigation of writers should be remembered. We owe it to ourselves.

Writers include Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, Tom Clancy, W. E. B. Du Bois, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Aldous Huxley, Ken Kesey, Norman Mailer, Ayn Rand, Susan Sontag, Terry Southern, Hunter S. Thompson, and Gore Vidal.

Praise

"The only surprise missing from this important book is that the FBI failed to investigate Santa Claus for wearing red. Read this book and be overwhelmed by the FBI's invasion of our lives." ―Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations

"Writers Under Surveillance is a reminder that ideas are the foundation of power and that it is often those who influence the ideas of others that the government attempts to watch, harass, or silence. It is an indispensable collection showing us, page by page, that freedom is fragile." ―DeRay Mckesson, host of Pod Save the People

"The leaks, lies, and ill-gotten confessions documented in Writers Under Surveillance double as a lively and revealing alternative history of twentieth-century U.S. literature. The collection proves that the national security state chased and anthologized the cutting edge of American writing all the way from Ernest Hemingway to Susan Sontag, modernism to postmodernism, libertarianism to communism, and back again." ―William J. Maxwell, Professor of English, Washington University in St. Louis

B. C. D. Lipton
B. C. D. Lipton

B. C. D. Lipton

B. C. D. Lipton is Projects Editor and Senior Reporter at MuckRock. She is motivated by the inefficiencies that hinder a progressive democracy. She studied the History and Literature of America at Harvard College and likes to play with patterns and narrative constructions. 

JPat Brown
JPat Brown

JPat Brown

JPat Brown is Executive Editor at MuckRock, a graduate of Bowdoin College, the former Editor-in-Chief of the alt-weekly DigBoston, the author of a really stupid book about owls, and at one point ran a computer lab in a church basement. He has written extensively on CIA and FBI history, has been quoted saying some really harsh things about said history, and is working on compiling the largest public archive of photos of Presidents with cake ever assembled. 

Michael Morisy
Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is co-founder and chief executive of MuckRock. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, where he launched the paper's technology vertical BetaBoston. He is currently a 2018-19 nonresidential fellow at Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. He was a 2014-15 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and a 2012-13 Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Network Fellow at Harvard University. He graduated in 2007 from Cornell University with a degree in English.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.

FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

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Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

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