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Steinbeck: Citizen Spy by [Kannard, Brian]
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Steinbeck: Citizen Spy Kindle Edition

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

This changes everything we thought we knew about John Steinbeck. After languishing in the CIA’s archives for 60 years, a letter is uncovered in John Steinbeck’s own hand that shatters everything history tells us about the author’s life. Written in 1952, to CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith, Steinbeck makes an offer to become an asset for the Agency during a trip to Europe later that year. More shocking than Steinbeck’s letter is Smith’s reply accepting John’s proposal.

Discovered by author Brian Kannard, these letters create the tantalizing proposal that John Steinbeck was, in fact, a CIA spy. Utilizing information from Steinbeck’s FBI file, John’s own correspondence, and interviews with John’s son Thomas Steinbeck, playwright Edward Albee, a former CIA intelligence officer, and others, Steinbeck: Citizen Spy uncovers the secret life of American cultural icon and Nobel Prize–winner, John Steinbeck.

• Did Steinbeck actively gather information for the intelligence community during his 1947 and 1963 trips to the Soviet Union?

• Why was the controversial author of The Grapes of Wrath never called before the House Select Committee on Un-American Activities, despite alleged ties to Communist organizations?

• Did the CIA influence Steinbeck to produce Cold War propaganda as part of Operation MOCKINGBIRD?

• Why did the CIA admit to the Church Committee in 1975 that Steinbeck was a subject of their illegal mail-opening program known as HTLINGUAL?

These and a host of other resources leave little doubt that there are depths yet unplumbed in the life of one of America’s most treasured authors. Just how heavily was Steinbeck involved in CIA operations? What did he know? And how much did he sacrifice for his country? Steinbeck: Citizen Spy brings us one step closer to the truth. This text includes a note in the introduction from Thomas Steinbeck.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1032 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Grave Distractions Publications; 1 edition (10 September 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F3VLV7W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable new chapter in the life of John Steinbeck 14 September 2013
By Craig Kenneth Bryant - Published on
Verified Purchase
We all know John Steinbeck, don't we? The author of The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row; member of communist organizations in the 1930's; lifelong associate of prominent leftists--we know him, right? He was a prewar liberal who flirted with communism, and made multiple tours of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Except maybe we don't know him at all. There have always been curiosities in the customary story of Steinbeck's life--most notably, perhaps, the way he completely dodged the Red Scare that did so much damage to so many of his artistic colleagues in the 1950s. Wikipedia tells us that the FBI "could find no basis for prosecuting Steinbeck," but plenty of people found themselves hauled before a Congressional committee to have their lives turned inside out and their livelihoods destroyed without ever committing a prosecuteable crime. Not so Steinbeck.

That's the sort of oddity that started Brian Kannard on a long period of detective work. His conjecture: that John Steinbeck had been left alone by the goons of the House Un-American Activities Committee because he was working for the intelligence services of the United States. If not exactly a "spy," he was an asset, making observations and doing little jobs for the CIA all through the Cold War.

A crazy idea, right? Until finally, one more in an endless stream of Freedom of Information Act requests produced a 1952 letter, in Steinbeck's own hand, to the Director of Central Intelligence, offering his services to the Agency. And another letter from the DCI accepting them (Steinbeck's letter can be seen on the cover of the book; it is of course reproduced inside). So those things are facts, and by themselves they are worth the price of admission. Just those two letters will change the way we understand a great American author's life. But there is much more here--using Steinbeck's life as a guideline, Kannard takes us through a history of espionage in the 20th Century: front organizations, psychological warfare operations, assassinations, propaganda campaigns. Again and again, Steinbeck turns up in the thick of things, and those 1952 letters force us to scratch our heads and wonder...

There is a lot in this book, and the thread can be a bit hard to follow at times. But it's a heck of a ride, intriguing and even quite thrilling as we read along and find ourselves in possession of that incredible letter.

A great read for literati, historians, and espionage geeks. This is a book that is bound to have an impact, and oblige us to reconsider a man we all thought we knew. Who knows what further discoveries may come of it?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 20 December 2014
By Poppa Peter - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
CIA connection. Who knew ?
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting research, but not well edited. For some ... 2 January 2015
By Nancy Hoagland-Fuchs - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting research, but not well edited. For some reason, the author refers to Steinbeck as "John " as if he had known him. Weird.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Attention grabbing title 22 November 2013
By Christmas Carol - Published on
Verified Purchase
The poor format and layout of this book bothered me, tiny margins, light print, etc..
The research is well done, although I am not convinced.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Researched Yet Reads Like a Spy Novel 9 October 2013
By Charles Millson - Published on
Mr. Kannard asks the questions few researchers have. His FOIA requests gave him and us some of the answers. Using titles of Steinbeck's works as chapter titles, the author guides the reader through the information and weaves a complex tale of intrigue and great interest. He includes an extensive bibliography, copious end notes, and a full cross-index. The author has done his work. Information is here for the scholar and the general public as well. Even if one does not agree with the author's premise, the book still makes for a thrilling spy/mystery read. Add the fact that the Steinbeck estate gives its official thumbs up to the project gives it credence. There is more Steinbeck information being held by the CIA--why? Mr. Kannard has opened the door and invites the public through in an effort to find out more about the man who is perhaps one of America's greatest authors.