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Anti-Kriegskatholiken & das FBI Edgar Hoovers| Catholic Reporter

Anti-Kriegskatholiken & das FBI Edgar Hoovers | National Catholic Reporter

Reporting on anti-war Catholics and the FBI | National Catholic Reporter.

THE BURGLARY: THE DISCOVERY OF J. EDGAR HOOVER’S SECRET FBI
By Betty Medsger  Published by Alfred A. Knopf, $29.95

Betty Medsger’s monumental study shares two subjects: the FBI and the Catholic left anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI is a book she was born to write, her magnum opus, given that it is largely unprecedented in her career. Medsger began as a traditional journalist, first at the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and then at The Washington Post, but by the mid-’70s she ran off to the West Coast and the groves of academic journalism and freelancing.

It was an atypical career move, since Medsger was such a good reporter. Indeed, The Burglary is a demonstration of what establishment journalism could and did accomplish back then, as opposed to the rougher sort of new journalism that flourished during the 1970s and ’80s — Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, et al.

The burglary in question was that of the office of the FBI in Media, Pa., in 1971. Medsger’s book begins with its instigator, William Davidon, his biography and his connections to the new Catholic left, just then coming into prominence. The Flower City Conspiracy, draft-board raiders who were typical of the period, had broken into a suite of federal offices that included an FBI office in 1970, but they were apprehended on site. That event inspired Davidon, but he decided this time to get away, escape scot-free, which had not been the usual practice with such protesters. Other protesters had followed the example of Josephite Fr. Philip Berrigan and Jesuit Fr. Dan Berrigan, who had become the face of such actions.

Medsger also sketches the larger history of the late 1960s in America, and even today it is startling to read. Then we get the intimate story of the burglary, its participants and other parallel events, including Davidon’s status as an unindicted conspirator in the case of the soon-to-be-held Harrisburg Seven trial.

A lot was going on back then. The Catholic left was the most peaceable offshoot of anti-war protesters in the Vietnam era. But, in both the public and the press’s view, all such events tended to blend together, from draft-card burning trials, such as the Boston Five in 1968, to the circus-like Chicago Seven case in 1969, to the killings at Kent State in 1970.  …..

Reporting on anti-war Catholics and the FBI | National Catholic Reporter.

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  1. 02/07/2014 um 22:41

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