CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Trinity Men’s Union of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston and the St. James Men’s Club of St. James Armenian Apostolic Church will present Duncan White as their guest speaker at their joint dinner meeting, hosted by the Trinity Men’s Union, on Monday, September 9.
White, an award-winning journalist and academic is assistant director of studies in history and literature at Harvard University and a lead book reviewer for the Daily Telegraph. His talk will focus on “Writers on the Front Line of the Cold War,” and his newly-published book, Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War.
In the Cold War, literature was a battleground and books were weapons. Publishing the right story at the right time could make you a hero; writing the wrong story in the wrong place could get you shot. Novels and poems could win hearts and minds of those caught between the competing creeds of capitalism and communism, and vast propaganda operations were initiated to ensure the right books got to the right readers and that the wrong books were kept out of circulation. So seriously was literature taken that the clandestine intelligence services of America, Britain and the Soviet Union all had agents dedicated to its exploitation as cultural warfare.
Drawing on archival research, the latest declassified intelligence files, and a deep understanding of the lives and works of writers of the period, Cold Warriors is the first definitive account of its kind. White vividly chronicles how this ferocious intellectual struggle was waged on both sides of the Iron Curtain. That the stakes were high as the world stood on the brink of nuclear destruction is well-known; what is less well understood is just how important writers were as players in the game.
Cold Warriors focuses on five major writers – George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Mary McCarthy, Graham Greene, and Andrei Sinyavsky – but the full cast includes a dazzling array of literary giants.