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Great Books As Weapons

April 7, 2014

From this article: “During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature — novels, short stories, poems. Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov. Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.”

Even Britannica’s *Great Books* set was used in this effort. I hope to document and discuss this, as well as other international/transnational uses of the great books idea, in my next book project. – TL

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