For young people who might think FBI spying on activists began under the Bush Administration, Seth Rosenfeld's book Subversives
will help them understand that the FBI has always viewed dissent as a criminal activity to be opposed by both covert and illegal means. Documenting the FBI's collusion with mainstream media and local police to discredit student radicals at the University of California Berkeley during the 1960s Free Speech Movement, Rosenfeld shines a light on the anti-democratic careers of such nefarious characters as J. Edgar Hoover, Ronald Reagan and Edwin Meese.
As the logical extension of the House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunts against Hollywood screenwriters and actors, the Counterintelligence Program of the FBI against Civil Rights and Free Speech figures formed the backdrop to Reagan's rise to power. By showing how Hollywood FBI informer Reagan and his Alameda County prosecutor associate Meese helped undermine freedom of expression, Rosenfeld illuminates the standing injustice of the Department of Justice in harassing activists that persists to the present.
By battling the department through decades of freedom of information requests, Rosenfeld has provided us with documentation of the lengths the federal government will go to to prevent freedom from prevailing. If there is one book to put on your Christmas list, this is it.