The FBI has long devoted its resources to stamping out dissent. As part of its ruthless war on the Communist Party, the Bureau set its sites on America’s folk singers. In his new book The Folk Singers and the Bureau: The FBI, the Folk Artists and the Suppression of the Communist Party, USA-1939-1956, historian and writer Aaron J. Leonard draws on an unprecedented array of declassified documents and never before released files to chronicle the FBI’s attacks on such folk musicians as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.
Aaron J. Leonard is a writer and historian with a focus on the history of radicalism and state suppression. He is the author of Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists and A Threat of the First Magnitude--FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration: From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union. He is a contributor to the History News Network, Jacobin, and Truthout.
On September 16, 2020, the Still Spying Podcast hosted a livestreamed event with Leonard to discuss his new book and this is a lightly edited audio-only version of that event, moderated by Still Spying host Chip Gibbons.