Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
It’s a good bet Frances Stonor Saunders’ book tour isn’t underwritten by the CIA. Forty years ago, that fact might have made her unique among Western thinkers. As Saunders shows in The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, her history of the CIA’s intellectual battle against Soviet communism, the spy agency subsidized everything from glee-club tours to literary magazines in order to convince Europe that we’re more than a bunch of milkshake-swilling yokels. By 1967, when public exposure helped shutter the program, some of the West’s biggest cultural figures, right and left, had wittingly or unwittingly taken CIA money. Nowadays, of course, it’s easy to romanticize the days before ugly Americans like Dave Thomas and Pamela Anderson Lee became our global culture warriors. Saunders explains the even uglier business of exporting our high culture at 7 p.m. at the National Archives, in Room 105, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (MS)