May 31, 2016

Patrick Iber and 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 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 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.

Iber will be joined by Skype by Karen Paget, author of Patriotic Betrayal. In this revelatory book, Paget shows how the CIA turned the National Student Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used—often wittingly and sometimes unwittingly—as undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up.

A cautionary tale, 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.”

This event will be moderated by Joel Whitney, author of the forthcoming Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers.

The event is free and open to the public.

Brooklyn Public Library
7:30 PM, May 31 2016
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238