Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Georgia Authors Discuss Iran, Espionage and National Security Issues

Attention all espionage and national security aficionados:

On Thursday evening, beginning at 7 pm at the Buckhead (Atlanta) Barnes & Noble, Emory University professor of political science and history, Dr. Harvey Klehr will discuss his new co-authored book, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. The book examines the journals of former KGB officer Alexander Vassiliev, and details the heretofore unknown extent of the KGB's operations in the United States. The book, and the discussion, will likely prove far more interesting than even the best Cold War fiction.

What: Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by Harvey Klehr

Where: Barnes & Noble Buckhead (Atlanta)

When: 7 pm, Thursday, June 25

Other Georgia authors you may wish to check out:

If you have an interest in intelligence and intelligence agencies, University of Georgia professor of political science Loch Johnson is one of the leading intelligence scholars in the country. In January of 2001, at a book signing for his then new book, Bombs, Bugs, Drugs and Thugs: Intelligence and America's Quest for Security, Dr. Johnson discussed his fear of a possible "non-conventional attack against the US by a terrorist group or other non-state actor" as one of the gravest threats facing America. Nine months later, Dr. Johnson was in great demand by media organizations seeking expert analysis concerning that very tragic reality.

Loch Johnson is the author or co-author of nearly a dozen books on intelligence and national security topics, including the Handbook for Intelligence Studies (June 09) and Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council (with Ambassador Karl Inderfurth; Nov 03).

If you have been following events in Iran, you may wish to examine the books of Georgia author and Middle East expert Sandra Mackey. In particular, her book The Iranians: Persia, Islam, and the Soul of a Nation (Apl 98) is certainly relevant to current events. Her other books include Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein (first published in May 02, then revised in March 03) and Mirror of the Arab World: Lebanon in Conflict (Feb 08).

If you have been following the Swine Flu pandemic, Georgia author and former Atlanta Journal Constitution health reporter Maryn McKenna's 2004 book, Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service is a darkly fascinating and disturbing look at the work of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) headquartered in Atlanta. McKenna was given unprecedented access to the elite units of the CDC who serve as America's (and often, the world's) front-line warriors against Ebola, SARS, bio-terrorism and flu pandemics.

The recent and horrific shooting at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. brings to mind Georgia author Daniel Levitas' 2002 (revised in 2004) book, The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right. Levitas regularly consults with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, on issues relating to domestic terrorism.

For good, solid WWII-Cold War fiction, try University of Georgia faculty member, screen writer, and former CIA officer Howard Berk's novel, Nikolai's War (08). Some of Berk's other writing credits include many of the scripts for the original 'Mission Impossible' and 'Columbo' TV series.

On a related, though non-literary, side note, I was recently pleased to discover that the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education is continuing a program that I started there back in 2005. This year's Secret Agent Summer Camp (formerly, Spy Camp) sounds pretty cool. Below is a link to an Athens Banner Herald article about the program when we were first getting it off the ground.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Immigrant Experience--Judy and Takis Iakovou Book Signing

After years of meticulous research, Judy and Takis Iakovou's historical mystery novel, Bitter Tide, finally hit the shelves this week. The Athens' area couple are perhaps best known for their previous Nick and Julia Lambros mystery series, which includes So Dear to Wicked Men and There Lies a Hidden Scorpion. They are also known for Taki's Greek cooking, and are the former owners of the Silver Screen restaurant in Crawford, Georgia.

A nice crowd turned out this past week for their reading and signing over in Athens, GA. The new novel revolves largely around Ellis Island, and early 1900s New York City. The Library Journal has already given the book a hearty thumbs up.

For a bit more detail about the book, see the article that appeared in this week's Athens Banner Herald at the link below:

The photo is from this week's signing. That's author Terry Kay in the one shot. He is a tremendous supporter of Georgia authors and their work.

Congratulations Judy and Takis!

Also suggested, if you are interested in immigrant stories (& Georgia):

Outcasts United by Warren St. John. This new title features the story of a group of immigrant/refugee kids in metro Atlanta who form a very successful soccer team. The book has been receiving a great deal of press lately, and a movie deal is in the works.