Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bill Issel on Sylvester Andriano

Last night I heard Bill Issel give a talk on the travails of Sylvester Andriano, a San Francisco attorney who was grilled and surveilled during World War II by some of the same people (e.g., Jack Tenney, J. Edgar Hoover) that went after Carey McWilliams. Some differences: Andriano was suspected of being pro-fascist, not a premature anti-fascist. Also, he had to leave the West Coast for the duration of the war, eventually settling in Chicago. And here's the capper: San Francisco leftists, including Harry Bridges, testified against him. I knew the early inquistions targeted right-wingers as well as lefties, but I didn't realize the firing squad was quite so circular.

Bill is professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University. His talk was part of the California Studies Dinners, sponsored by the Department of Geography and the Townsend Center at UC Berkeley. The title was “A Desecration of My Rights as an American Citizen: J. Edgar Hoover’s Investigation of Sylvester Andriano”


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