On a recent road trip from Oregon to South Dakota, we stopped in at two beautiful and thriving independent bookstores. That's Ariana and Nancy at COUNTRY BOOKSHELF in Bozeman, Montana and me luxuriating after a buffalo burger and a beer in MITZIE'S BOOKS, owned by Brenda Beal, Rapid City, South Dakota.
How nice to see Ana Grey in both!
Yes -- those guys are standing on their horses. Wouldn't you?
Photos by Benjamin Brayfield
Not a great day for the FBI
FBI FILE ON RAY BRADBURY
As a follow-up to our coverage of the recent death of Ray Bradbury, here's some insight into the times he lived in, and the difficulties revolutionary thinkers of all sorts faced during the age of FBI Director Edgar J. Hoover. This dark time in the FBI's history is the focus of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey novel JUDAS HORSE, in which Ana Grey goes undercover in Oregon to infiltrate a terrorist cell -- only to discover the leader of the cult has a twisted history with the old-school Bureau and the brutal treatment of its own agents.
Ray Bradbury FBI File: Sci-Fi Legend Suspected Of Communist Sympathies
By Marcus Baram, Huffington Post
Late science-fiction legend Ray Bradbury was actively investigated by the FBI during the 1960s for suspected Communist leanings, according to FBI files released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Huffington Post.
Bradbury aroused the suspicion of the FBI due to his outspoken criticism of the U.S. government and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which was investigating real and suspected communists in America. In a full-page ad in Variety, Bradbury had denounced the committee's probes as "claptrap and nonsense" and several informants in Hollywood also voiced their suspicions about the acclaimed writer to the bureau.
Bradbury's suspected activity was reported to the bureau by screenwriter Martin Berkeley, who claimed that science fiction writers were prone to being Communists and that the genre was uniquely capable of indoctrinating readers in Communist ideologies.
A popular writer like Bradbury was positioned to "spread poison" about U.S. political institutions, Berkeley told the FBI. "Informant stated that the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would seriously believe [sic] could not be won since their morale had been seriously destroyed."
Berkeley told the FBI that Bradbury was "probably sympathetic with certain pro-Communist elements" in the Screen Writers Guild. And he said that Bradbury once rose to his feet and condemned fellow guild members as "Cowards and McCarthyites" for discussing a resolution that would have prevented Communist members and writers who invoked before HUAC their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Bradbury's FBI file was previously noted in Sam Weller's biography, "The Bradbury Chronicles."
Years before talking to the FBI about Bradbury, Berkeley gained notoriety for his dramatic about-face during testimony before the HUAC in the mid-1950s, first denying any involvement in leftist politics and then claiming that he had been a card-carrying Communist for seven years. He ended up telling the committee that 155 people in Hollywood were active communists - his betrayal doomed his career and he was relegated to penning B-movies like "Tarantula" and "The Deadly Mantis."
The bureau eventually concluded after talking to other informants that: "No evidence has been developed which indicates Ray Bradbury was ever a member of the CP [Communist Party]." As a result, the bureau decided not to interview Bradbury since "he does not possess informant potential."
At one point, the bureau tracked whether Bradbury had traveled to Communist Cuba to take part in that country's Cultural Congress at the Havana Libre Hotel in January 1968. But after looking at his passport file, agents determined that he had not made the trip.
David Sipress/The New Yorker
CRIME OF THE MONTH
Butler sentenced in failed scheme
CONNECTICUT - A former butler insisted on his innocence and said he was scared to go to jail as he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to extort millions of dollars from philanthropist Anne H. Bass, who was injected with what masked intruders claimed was a deadly virus during a night of terror in 2007.
Emanual Nicolescu, who was convicted in March of attempted extortion and other charges, said that he had no role in the ordeal suffered by Bass and her companion at her Connecticut estate.
Authorities said the masked men injected Bass and her partner, Julian Lethbridge, and refused to provide an antidote unless they turned over $8.5 million. The injected substance turned out to be harmless and the intruders fled without the money.