OVERRIDE

The Einstein File

J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist

Fred Jerome

St. Martin's Press

From the moment of Einstein's arrival in the U.S. in l933 until his death in l955, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, with help from several other federal agencies, busied itself collecting "derogatory information" in an effort to undermine Einstein's influence and destroy his prestige. For the first time Fred Jerome tells the story of that anti-Einstein campaign, as well as the story behind it--why and how the campaign originated, and thereby provides the first detailed picture of Einstein's little known political activism.

Unlike the popular image of Einstein as an absent-minded, head-in-the-clouds genius, the man was in fact intensely politically active and felt it was his duty to use his world-wide fame shrewdly in the cause of social justice. A passionate pacifist, socialist, internationalist and outspoken critic of racism (Einstein considered racism America's "worst disease"), and personal friend of Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, Einstein used his immense prestige to denounce McCarthy at the height of his power, publicly urging witnesses to refuse to testify before HUAC.

The story that emerges not only reveals a little known aspect of Einstein's character, but underscores the dangers that can arise, to threaten the American Republic and the rule of law, in times of obsession with national security.

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  PART IDiscovering America1“What’s This, an Inquisition?”As they left their country home in Caputh, Germany, in the autumn of 1932 to return to their Berlin apartment and prepare for their coming visit to the United States, Einstein turned to his wife, Elsa, and said, “Before you leave this time, take a good look at the villa.”“Why?” Elsa asked.“You will never see it again.”1As the year drew to a close, so did Germany’s thirteen-year attempt at a liberal democracy, the Weimar Republic. With one out of three workers unemployed and
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Einstein File

"A highly readable book---investigative journalism that qualifies as academic history. It is also scary."
---Harper's Magazine

"The Einstein File is a frightening look at a dark past, hopefully gone forever. It also reestablishes Einstein as a committed social activist, antiracist, antiwar critic of capitalism, whose daring extended beyond mathematics."
---Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman

"Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Einstein File details a bleak chapter in this nation's history, when a rogue elephant FBI rode roughshod over civil liberties, including the rights and privacy of one of the world's great scientists. As the "war on terrorism" begins to resemble the "war on communism," Fred Jerome's highly informative book sounds a profoundly cautionary note."
---Gerald Horne, author of Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois

"A well-written, provocative book that could---and should---alter the ways Hoover and Einstein are viewed."
---Denver Post

"Vivid and engrossing.... Everybody interested in American history should read it."
---Frederic Golden, former science editor of Time

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Fred Jerome

  • Fred Jerome is a senior consultant to the Gene Media Forum, Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University. His articles and op-ed pieces have appeared in many publications, including Newsweek and The New York Times. As a reporter in the South during the early 1960s, he covered the exploding civil rights movement, and, more recently, has taught journalism at Columbia, New York University, and other New York-area universities. He established the Media Resource Center, a widely acclaimed telephone referral service putting thousands of journalists in touch with scientists.
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    The Einstein File

    J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist

    Fred Jerome

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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