FDL Book Salon Welcomes Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Today’s guests, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, discuss their book on the golden age of CIA influence campaigns, The Zhivago Affair.

Within a larger narrative about the life and Russia’s persecution of poet and novelist Boris Pasternak, Finn and Couvee describe CIA’s successful efforts to publish and distribute Pasternak’s Nobel Prize-winning novel, Dr. Zhivago. Somehow, MI6 got a copy of the manuscript and shared it with the CIA, which had it published in Russian by a Dutch publisher and distributed at the Vatican’s exhibit at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. Russian efforts to suppress the book and its coercion of Pasternak to publicly disclaim the publication and the Nobel prize brought international criticism. The operation was — Finn and Couvee describe CIA concluding — “a successful stunt.”

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes John Feffer, Crusade 2.0: The West’s Resurgent War on Islam

By: Saturday August 4, 2012 1:59 pm

Less than a week after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, then-President Bush infamously called the resulting “war on terror” a “crusade…[that] is going to take awhile.” The use of the phrase brought about global rebukes, ranging from French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine, who said that we “have to avoid a clash of civilizations at all costs” to Soheib Bensheik, the Grand Mufti of the mosque in Marseille, France, who warned that the use of the phrase was “most unfortunate.”

Bush’s trip-up was seen largely as a gaffe that U.S. public affairs officials sought to avoid in the future. But in John Feffer’s Crusade 2.0: The West’s Resurgent War on Islam, we are shown that the current conflicts the United States is involved in with the Muslim world — both at home through Islamophobic protests of mosque construction and abroad in hot conflicts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere — in a way do resemble a renewed Crusade.

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