Brian Kannard - Steinbeck: Citizen Spy
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November 11, 2013
In 2009, Brian left his career to finish his first book, Skullduggery: 45 True Tales of Disturbing the Dead, and in early 2010, opened the independent publishing house Grave Distractions Publications. In the last three years, Grave Distractions has published over fifty books for nineteen different authors. He joins us to discuss his new book Steinbeck: Citizen Spy. Brian obtained two documents from the CIA via the Freedom of Information Act that blows away everything we thought about Steinbeck. The first piece is a letter, in Steinbeck's own handwriting, offering to work for the agency. The second is a reply from Walter Bedell Smith accepting Steinbeck's offer. In his investigations he's also uncovered that the FBI has destroyed portions of Steinbeck's FBI file. 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? We'll discuss all this and more.