Finks : how the CIA tricked the world's best writers

Finks : how the CIA tricked the world's best writersThoroughly researched paced like a good novel, Finks is a book you will not want to put down Mr Whitney did an impressive job of fitting together what may have once seemed unrelated pieces and showed that controlling the world s perception of other nations culture can be as great a threat as traditional weapons of war It also seemed to suggest that writers seeking publication good PR should toady up to the CIA what s their commission A very enlightening book If you a have any interest in American or international literary history, b would like to know about the details of Cold War American behavior, or c still entertain warm fuzzy feelings about the CIA, this book is a must read I m not sure I agree with the way the subtitle is worded, because clearly not all the writers involved were tricked But some were and it helps to know which were bamboozled and which were happily working for the CIA, doing the bamboozling. When News Broke That The CIA Had Colluded With Literary Magazines To Produce Cultural Propaganda Throughout The Cold War, A Debate Began That Has Never Been Resolved The Story Continues To Unfold, With The Reputations Of Some Of America S Best Loved Literary Figures Including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, And Richard Wright Tarnished As Their Work For The Intelligence Agency Has Come To Light Finks Is A Tale Of Two CIAs, And How They Blurred The Line Between Propaganda And Literature One CIA Created Literary Magazines That Promoted American And European Writers And Cultural Freedom, While The Other Toppled Governments, Using Assassination And Censorship As Political Tools Defenders Of The Cultural CIA Argue That It Should Have Been Lauded For Boosting Interest In The Arts And Freedom Of Thought, But The Two CIAs Had The Same Undercover Goals, And Shared Many Of The Same Methods Deception, Subterfuge And Intimidation Finks Demonstrates How The Good Versus Bad CIA Is A False Divide, And That The Cultural Cold Warriors Again And Again Used Anti Communism As A Lever To Spy Relentlessly On Leftists, And Indeed Writers Of All Political Inclinations, And Thereby Pushed US Democracy A Little Closer To The Soviet Model Of The Surveillance State The single most impressive thing about Whitney s book is the amount of research needed for this book It is merely 270 pages of text sans notes but it is apparent that it took a lot of time There is an interesting contradiction at first glance Finks seems almost scholarly with up to a hundred notes per chapter but then Whitney drops words like shitstorm and snitch which seem curiously out of place in a book of this nature Maybe I m being too conservative but it hits you Overall it is a good read but there are way too many names and organizations mentioned at least include a list of rudimentary connections or something David Simon had a short list of main players in his Homicide and it sure helped. These days, as the corporate media and, sadly, a fair share of the independent media are behaving as if the allegations of Russian state interference in the 2016 presidential elections are established fact they aren t , suggesting otherwise can earn the lone voice in the propaganda wilderness the label of Trump follower, Russian stooge, conspiracy nut or all of the above I have literally had people who are shocked that I refuse to accept the word of that great patriotic organization the Central Intelligence Agency.I was already aware of the CIA s dirty fingers stirring the literary pot, not to mention journalism, film and TV What this well researched history provides is an in depth review of one aspect of their meddling their support in the creation of The Paris Review and its sister publications worldwide under the aegis of the Congress for Cultural Freedom.Once one accepts the premise that anything we see or hear in the media or on our screens may have as its underlying agenda the propagation of the message the government or whichever agency feels the need to tweak the national mindset wants us to embrace, it s all but impossible not to see how the sausage is made Indeed, sometimes, as with the CBS TV series Salvation, the presentation is so ham handed any decent writer would refuse to have their name attached.There is a belief among us in the United States that the CIA was, until last year, prohibited from acting within the country s boundaries Mr Whitney, however, notes that in fact the act of Congress that established the CIA never actually put that prohibition in writing It was nothing than a gentlemen s agreement Of course, anyone able to apply the term gentlemen to the CIA is in serious need of therapy.Another myth dispelled in these pages is the accepted history that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda evolved from the mujahideen armed and trained by the CIA during the Reagan administration to combat the Russian invasion of Afghanistan In point of fact, Mr Whitney reveals, there was a CIA sponsored cell of academics in the country at least by the mid 1960s.If you re tired of being lied to, if you re exhausted by the stress of being told there are enemies from all over the globe lurking in the shadows ready to pounce, I recommend you read this book It won t help much with the stress, but at least you ll be looking at the right enemy. Fascinating book on the ties of the CIA to The Paris Review, the world of television and movie Westerns, book prizes and the publication of Dr Zhivago, and much. It was shocking to read just how far the CIA s tendrils reached into the literary world, or it would have been if I d never heard of the CIA before Still, this is an impressive book of research If you come into it without much of a background in the Cold War or the literary history of the twentieth century you will, like I was, be treading water to stay afloat The index is seven pages in two columns, mostly names, the bulk of which only appear once After a few chapters I stopped trying to keep the minor people straight and just let the facts wash over me.I came away from this book with a newfound respect for a handful of authors who resisted being roped into Cold War games, like John Berger and James Baldwin.I doubt Joel Whitney is a communist, but whatever he is he keeps his politics out of the book and tries to cleave to the facts That is not to say that Finks is a mere record of facts There is sympathy offered as well as judgment imposed on the various finks in these histories.A memorable quote from the closing chapter on Afghanistan The Congress for Cultural Freedom was comfortable with intervention indeed, it at times appeared to treat intervention as its religion, though articulated through a seemingly apolitical theory of development called modernization But if you looked at the details with some skepticism and could keep straight what the paper trail truly looked like across the constellation of archives and cover stories, modernization theory was jihad Even if it was American Jihad. A fascinating say it ain t so, Joe say it ain t so Peter M, and George P story about CIA involvement with the cultural Cold War My quibbles with the book were perfectly articulated in a review by Publishers Weekly that I ll quote here The book s subject matter is fascinating and complex, but Whitney s writing is dry and unengaging what might work for a lecture comes across as dispassionate, even dull, in print Teasing apart the myriad lists of magazines and personalities grows tedious after a while, but for those willing to slog through, a rich tapestry of material awaits It s difficult accepting that one s literary heroes have feet of clay, but my high regard for Matthiessen s books remains undiminished, as does my respect for Plimpton s place in the New Journalism. CIA emang jagonya ngurusin negara orang pembunuhan, kudeta dan pembentukan pemerintahan boneka Tapi propaganda budaya dalam bentuk puisi dan review buku, siapa yg tau Seperti judulnya, menceritakan bagaimana CIA mengelabui para sastrawan besar dunia CCF menjadi fokus utama, dan Paris Review sebagai majalah susastera pendosa. Finks The CIA s literary charm offensive, intellectual warfare, and propaganda sh tstorm The CIA is no stranger to sticking it s nose into the affairs of other countries Assassinations Coups National building You name it But cultural propaganda in the form of poems and book reviews Who knew In Joel Whitney s Finks, apparently numerous literary powerhouses from The Paris Review to Quest magazine India to Combate Costa Rica to Hiwar Lebanon and many others had been infiltrated by spooks But why To promulgate anti communist sentiment To uphold American values To help win the Cold War To each of these questions, it seems the answer was a resounding yes, at least in the beginning In the end, it didn t take long for it all to go off the rails, civil rights be damned In my opinion, one particularly cogent quote will prepare a reader for the broad scope of this important book Mr Whitney writes that Finks is his attempt to look through a keyhole into the vast engine room of the cultural Cold War, to see if this ideology one favoring paranoid intervention into the media over adherence to democratic principle remains with us If so, what do we lose by accepting that our media exist, in part, to encourage support for our interventions And if we re ok with it during one administration, are we still ok with our tax dollars fostering the nexus of CIA contractors, military propagandists, and journalists even when the opposition runs the government

[BOOKS] ⚣ Finks : how the CIA tricked the world's best writers Author Joel Whitney –
  • Paperback
  • 348 pages
  • Finks : how the CIA tricked the world's best writers
  • Joel Whitney
  • English
  • 05 April 2018
  • 9781682190241

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