Sunday, June 15, 2008

John Roy Carlson: Under Cover

An American Hero that I have never heard of? I am amazed that I have missed this guy in my readings. I am ordering this book and going to learn more. Thanks for this Solomon!

Solomonia: John Roy Carlson: Under Cover: "John Roy Carlson is a name mostly forgotten, though it deserves to be remembered. In brief, Carlson was the pen name for a guy named Arthur Derounian, an Armenian from Alexandria, Greece who moved to the US as a young man with his family in 1921. Having experienced life in a region of war-torn ethnic strife, Carlson (for simplicity, I will refer to him by the name he wrote under) fell in love with America, with democracy, with all the nation stood for (and, as his later career would show, a philosemite). He made good, worked hard, and attended the Columbia J-school (in the days before it turned you into the enemy, haha).

An incident in 1933 was formative. He witnessed the assassination of a beloved Armenian priest right there in the aisle of a New York church perpetrated by members of an Armenian political party. The incident hammered home to Carlson that two oceans were not enough to keep the political violence of the Old World away from his beloved new home. That home needed active protection on the part of those, like himself, who knew the dangers that were out there.

So Carlson was well prepared as the 1930's wound on, and Fascism arose, casting its choking vines westward. Under the assumed identity of "Italian-American" George Pagnanelli, Carlson spent the late 1930's and early '40s infiltrating American fascist organizations, culminating in his most well-known book, written in 1943, Under Cover; My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America -- The Amazing Revelation of How Axis Agents and Our Enemies Within Are Now Plotting to Destroy the United States. It reads like a mystery novel, and contains a history with so many rhymes with the present that the public square deserves a recitation."

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