The Folk Singers and the Bureau
Aaron J Leonard
Some of the most prominent folk singers of the twentieth century, including Woody Guthrie, ‘Sis Cunningham, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Burl Ives, etc., were also political activists with various associations with the American Communist Party. As a consequence, the FBI, along with other governmental and right-wing organizations, were monitoring them, keeping meticulous files running many thousands of pages, and making (and carrying out) plans to purge them from the cultural realm.
In The Folk Singers and the Bureau, Aaron J Leonard draws on an unprecedented array of declassified documents and never before released files to shed light on the interplay between left-wing folk artists and their relationship with the American Communist Party, and how it
put them in the US government’s repressive cross hairs.
At a time of increasing state surveillance and repression, The Folk Singers and the Bureau shows how the FBI and other governmental agencies have attempted to shape and repress American culture.
This is a must-read for music lovers and defenders of civil liberties alike." "A fascinating understanding of the beginnings of the folk music revival through the lens of the particularly zealous FBI." "Historically informed and impressively contextualized, The Folk Singers and the Bureau is a dark tale of persecution, paranoia, and valiant resistance to tyranny." "A valuable and timely study, with new evidence and insights suited to our present moment."
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