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Patrick Iber & Karen Paget on the Cultural Cold War
Dweck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library
Brooklyn, NY
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Patrick Iber & Karen Paget on the Cultural Cold War
During the Cold War, left-wing Latin American artists, writers, and scholars worked as diplomats, advised rulers, opposed dictators, and even led nations. Their competing visions of social democracy and their pursuit of justice, peace, and freedom led them to organizations sponsored by the governments of the Cold War powers: the Soviet-backed World Peace Council, the U.S.-supported Congress for Cultural Freedom, and, after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the homegrown Casa de las Américas.

Neither Peace nor Freedom (Harvard University Press) delves into the entwined histories of these organizations and the aspirations and dilemmas of intellectuals who participated in them, from Diego Rivera and Pablo Neruda to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Patrick Iber corrects the view that such individuals were merely pawns of the competing superpowers. Movements for democracy and social justice sprung up among pro-Communist and anti-Communist factions, and Casa de las Américas promoted a brand of revolutionary nationalism that was beholden to neither the Soviet Union nor the United States.

Iber will be joined by Skype by Karen Paget, author of Patriotic Betrayal (Yale University Press). In this revelatory book, Paget shows how the CIA turned the National Student Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students usedoften wittingly and sometimes unwittinglyas undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up. Now Paget, drawing on archival sources, declassified documents, and more than 150 interviews, shows that the Ramparts story revealed only a small part of the plot.

A cautionary tale, throwing sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even now, about whether Americas national-security interests can be advanced by skullduggery and deception, Patriotic Betrayal, says Karl E. Meyer, a former editorial board member of the New York Times and The Washington Post, evokes the aura of a John le Carré novel with its self-serving rationalizations, its layers of duplicity, and its bureaucratic doubletalk.

Joel Whitney, author of the forthcoming Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers (OR Books), hosts the discussion.

Location

Dweck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library (View)
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238
United States

Categories

Arts > Literary
Other > Political

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!

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