The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

Book - 2012
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"A narrative report on the FBI's covert involvement with future President Ronald Reagan, radical Mario Savio and liberal university president Clark Kerr to suppress the 1960s student movement at Berkeley reveals J. Edgar Hoover's campaign of planted news stories, illegal break-ins and other acts designed to undermine the Democratic party"--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
Description: viii, 734 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780374257002
Branch Call Number: 378.1981 Ros


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Dec 16, 2017

I agree with the previous reviewer, a thoroughly researched examination of the turbulent times at the University of California, Berkeley from the late 1950s through the 1960s, based on a large number of interviews, public records and confidential FBI files author Rosenfeld spent 30 years and numerous lawsuits to obtain. The resulting book is long and detailed, but is highly revealing and quite scary about the actions and mindset of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and later Gov. Ronald Reagan's administration in assuming and trying to prove the "subversive" students and sympathetic faculty of UC Berkeley were unwittingly or secretly directed by communist forces. The unlawful surveillance and release of doctored reports to like-minded press who wrote stories condemning student leaders and UC Berkeley staff, including the college president, is a cautionary tale of what can happen when oversight of our institutions is lax, or blocked by elected officials and their supporters, who "know" the best for society. The book shows the era had a number of parallels to the current state of our country.

Mar 14, 2013

Outstanding investigative reporting. I lived through these times, though on the other coast. This is a long book - 500 pages - but I could not put it down. It is also a difficult topic - the origin of the ongoing culture wars. Yet the author manages to approach it in a very even-handed way, showing the warts on all sides without dehumanizing anyone. The book benefits from the release of previously classified FBI documents that reveal hitherto hidden - but critical - parts of the story. Reading this will not only sweep away some misconceptions about the period, but also help understand present day USA.

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