[Marxism] Fwd: UI Press | John Rodden | Of G-Men and Eggheads: The FBI and the New York Intellectuals

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 26 07:45:49 MDT 2016

Spy romances of Cold War counterespionage evoke scenes of heroic FBI and 
CIA agents dedicated to smashing communism and its subversive coterie of 
intellectual fellow travelers bent on painting the world red.

John Rodden cuts this tall tale down to its authentic pint size, 
refusing to indulge the public relations myth promoted by J. Edgar 
Hoover's FBI. In Of G-Men and Eggheads, Rodden portrays federal agents’ 
hilarious obsession with monitoring that ever-present threat to national 
security, the American literary intellectual. Drawing on government 
dossiers and archives, Rodden focuses on the onetime members of a 
radical political sect of ex-Trotskyists (barely numbering a thousand at 
its height), the so-called New York intellectuals. He describes the 
nonsensical decades-long pursuit of this group of intellectuals, 
especially Lionel Trilling, Dwight Macdonald, and Irving Howe. The 
Keystone Cops style of numerous FBI agents is documented carefully in 
Rodden's meticulous case studies of how Hoover's men recruited 
informants to snoop on the "Commies," opened their personal mail, 
tracked their movements, and reported on their wives and friends.


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