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Secret City – Washington D.C.: With James Kirchick

June 30, 2022 @ 07:00 PM to June 30, 2022 @ - 08:00 PM
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**Wine & Appetizer Reception 6-7pm**

Program 7-8pm

About the event

For decades, the specter of homosexuality haunted Washington. The mere suggestion that a person might be gay destroyed reputations, ended careers, and ruined lives. At the height of the Cold War, fear of homosexuality became intertwined with the growing threat of international communism, leading to a purge of gay men and lesbians from the federal government. In the fevered atmosphere of political Washington, the secret “too loathsome to mention” held enormous, terrifying power.

Utilizing thousands of pages of declassified documents, interviews with over one hundred people, and material unearthed from presidential libraries and archives around the country, Secret City is a chronicle of American politics like no other. Beginning with the tragic story of Sumner Welles, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s brilliant diplomatic advisor and the man at the center of “the greatest national scandal since the existence of the United States,” James Kirchick illuminates how homosexuality shaped each successive presidential administration through the end of the twentieth century.

Cultural and political anxiety over gay people sparked a decades-long witch hunt, impacting everything from the rivalry between the CIA and the FBI to the ascent of Joseph McCarthy, the struggle for Black civil rights, and the rise of the conservative movement. Among other revelations, Kirchick tells of the World War II–era gay spymaster who pioneered seduction as a tool of American espionage, the devoted aide whom Lyndon Johnson treated as a son yet abandoned once his homosexuality was discovered, and how allegations of a “homosexual ring” controlling Ronald Reagan nearly derailed his 1980 election victory.

Magisterial in scope and intimate in detail, Secret City will forever transform our understanding of American history.


About the speaker:

James Kirchick is a columnist for Tablet magazine, a writer at large for Air Mail, and the author of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington. A widely published journalist, he has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, the New York Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement, among many other publications. His first book, “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age,” was published by Yale University Press in 2017.

Kirchick is presently a Nonresident Senior Fellow for the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council. From 2017 to 2021, he was a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe and Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. Prior to Brookings, he was a fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington, DC, and a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow in Berlin. He covered major events including the First Libyan Civil War, a fraudulent presidential election in Belarus, and revolution and ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan.

Recognized for his voice on American gay politics and international gay rights, he is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Journalist of the Year Award. He is a professional member of the PEN American Center. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Kirchick is a graduate of the Roxbury Latin School and Yale College.

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Date And Time

June 30, 2022 @ 07:00 PM to June 30, 2022 @ - 08:00 PM

Registration End Date

June 30, 2022

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