Tag Archives: Seth Rosenfeld

Recommended: 10 great recent books by Berkeley writers

tarloff
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Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.

So far as I can tell, people living in what has become my home town of Berkeley, California, have been writing an inordinate number of really good books in recent years. That’s probably because the town attracts creative people like . . . well, should I say, like flies? No, that wouldn’t fit.

For example, we have our own famous “Three Michaels” — Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker), and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). They’re hardly alone. It’s tough to stumble into any corner coffee shop here and not find some future Pulitzer-winner hunched over a laptop and the coffee cup by her side that’s been empty all day. … Continue reading »

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The FBI’s secret war against Berkeley

In his book Subversives, Seth Rosenfeld details how Hoover's FBI feared Communists were controlling the Free Speech Movement and sought to sabotage it. Photo: UC Berkeley Libraries
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Seth Rosenfeld’s book on the FBI and UC Berkeley, a culmination of 30 years of work, has been out for just a week, but its revelations are already creating consternation.

It’s not just the news that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent agents to spy on Berkeley professors and students starting in the 1940s and worked behind the scenes with Ronald Reagan to get UC President Clark Kerr fired. It’s not just Rosenfeld’s massive evidence that Hoover twisted the inner workings of the FBI to justify intensive spying on the Free Speech Movement and its leaders, including Mario Savio and Bettina Aptheker.  And it’s not just the news that top UC Berkeley officials, upset about unrest on campus, worked closely with federal agents to harm the reputations of students and professors they considered subversive.

What has people fired up is Rosenfeld’s revelation that Richard Aoki, a revered radical leader best known for providing the first guns to the Black Panthers, was an FBI informant. … Continue reading »

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