The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

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9781565845961: The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

During the Cold War, freedom of expression was vaunted as liberal democracy’s most cherished possession—but such freedom was put in service of a hidden agenda. In The Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders reveals the extraordinary efforts of a secret campaign in which some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West were working for or subsidized by the CIA—whether they knew it or not.


Called “the most comprehensive account yet of the [CIA’s] activities between 1947 and 1967” by the New York Times, the book presents shocking evidence of the CIA’s undercover program of cultural interventions in Western Europe and at home, drawing together declassified documents and exclusive interviews to expose the CIA’s astonishing campaign to deploy the likes of Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Robert Lowell, George Orwell, and Jackson Pollock as weapons in the Cold War. Translated into ten languages, this classic work now with a new preface by the author is “a real contribution to popular understanding of the postwar period” (The Wall Street Journal), and its story of covert cultural efforts to win hearts and minds continues to be relevant today.


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Review:

It is well known that the CIA funded right-wing intellectuals after World War II; fewer know that it also courted individuals from the center and the left in an effort to turn the intelligentsia away from communism and toward an acceptance of "the American way." Frances Stonor Saunders sifts through the history of the covert Congress for Cultural Freedom in The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. The book centers on the career of Michael Josselson, the principal intellectual figure in the operation, and his eventual betrayal by people who scapegoated him. Sanders demonstrates that, in the early days, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the emergent CIA were less dominated by the far right than they later became, and that the idea of helping out progressive moderates--rather than being Machiavellian--actually appealed to the men at the top.

Many intellectuals were still drawn to Stalin's Russia. Saunders superbly traces the crisis of conscience that McCarthyism and its associated book-burning caused, and the subsequent rise of more moderate ideals. This exhaustive account, despite neglecting some important side issues, is an essential book. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Frances Stonor Saunders is the author of The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (The New Press), The Devil’s Broker, and The Woman Who Shot Mussolini. She has worked as the arts editor of the New Statesman; writes and presents for BBC radio; and has written for Areté, The Guardian, Lapham’s Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in London.

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Saunders, Frances Stonor
Editorial: The New Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 156584596X ISBN 13: 9781565845961
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Saunders, Frances Stonor
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