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The Einstein File
It's widely believed that Einstein was the "father of the atom bomb." In fact, readers of Fred Jerome's book The Einstein File will discover that the scientist was barred from working on the bomb, as a security risk by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and US Army officials.
It was part of Hoover's secret, 23-year campaign to undermine Einstein's influence, a campaign that included illegally opening the scientist's mail, monitoring his phone, trying to link him to Soviet spies, and trying to take away his American citizenship - a campaign detailed for the first time in The Einstein File. The book, published in May by St. Martin's Press, also brings to light evidence that Hoover was working with or duped by pro-Nazi elements in Germany and the US. After three years of FOIA efforts, Jerome succeeded in obtaining virtually the full FBI file on the world's most famous scientist. (In a 1983 version released by the FBI more than 25% of the file was withheld or blacked out.)
From the Book Jacket:
Using material newly obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Fred Jerome weaves information from Einstein's almost two-thousand-page FBI file with the history of the period to create a spy-story-like narrative that also explores Einstein's political dimension.
From the moment Albert Einstein arrived in the United States in l933, the year of the Nazis' ascent to power in Germany, until his death in l955, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, assisted by several other federal agencies, began feverishly collecting "derogatory information" in an effort to undermine the renowned physicist's influence and destroy his reputation. For the first time, Fred Jerome tells the story in depth of that anti-Einstein campaign, explains why and how the campaign originated, and provides the first detailed picture of Einstein's little-known political activism.
Unlike the popular image of Einstein as an absentminded, head-in-the-clouds genius, he was in fact intensely interested in the larger society and felt it was his duty to use his worldwide fame to help advance the cause of social justice. Einstein was a fervent pacifist, socialist, internationalist, and an outspoken critic of racism (he considered racism America's "worst disease"), as well as a friend of celebrated African Americans Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. Einstein dared to use his immense prestige to denounce Joseph McCarthy at the height of the feared senator's power, and publicly urged witnesses to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
The story that emerges not only reveals a little-known aspect of Einstein's considerable social and humanitarian concerns, but underscores the dangers that can arise to the American republic and the rule of law in times of obsession with national security.