Mason Author Series: General Michael V. Hayden

Join the University Libraries for a discussion with General Michael V. Hayden about his book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, on Thursday, May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting America. “Play to the edge” was Hayden’s guiding principle when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so when he ran the CIA.  In his view, many shortsighted and uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an unapologetic insider’s look told from the perspective of the people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the moment.

How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years?  What was the NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath?  Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?

For 10 years, General Michael Hayden was a participant in some of the most telling events in the annals of American national security. General Hayden’s goals in writing this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, “There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin. My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population who depend on and appreciate intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics.”

General and Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency — the only person to helm both agencies— during a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change. In addition to leading CIA and NSA, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country.  He also served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center and served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at US European Command, at the National Security Council, and the US Embassy in Bulgaria. He was also the deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and US Forces in South Korea. He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

Mason Author Series: Jennifer Ritterhouse

Join the University Libraries for the book launch of Discovering the South: One Man’s Travels Through a Changing America in the 1930s on Wednesday, April 26 at 3 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

During the Great Depression, the American South was not merely “the nation’s number one economic problem,” as President Franklin Roosevelt declared. It was also a battlefield on which forces for and against social change were starting to form. For a white southern liberal like Jonathan Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, it was a fascinating moment to explore. Attuned to culture as well as politics, Daniels knew the true South lay somewhere between Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. On May 5, 1937, he set out to find it, driving thousands of miles in his trusty Plymouth and ultimately interviewing even Mitchell herself.

In Discovering the South, historian Jennifer Ritterhouse pieces together Daniels’s unpublished notes from his tour along with his published writings and a wealth of archival evidence to put this one man’s journey through a South in transition into a larger context. Daniels’s well chosen itinerary brought him face to face with the full range of political and cultural possibilities in the South of the 1930s, from New Deal liberalism and social planning in the Tennessee Valley Authority, to Communist agitation in the Scottsboro case, to planters’ and industrialists’ reactionary worldview and repressive violence. The result is a lively narrative of black and white southerners fighting for and against democratic social change at the start of the nation’s long civil rights era.

Visit the author’s website for more about the project.

Jennifer Ritterhouse is associate professor of history at George Mason University. She is the author of Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race and several articles; editor of a reprint edition of Sarah Patton Boyle’s autobiography, The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition; and co-editor of Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. She teaches classes on the 20th-century US, the South, cultural history, and research methods.

The University Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. Upcoming readings include Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Hayden on May 4.

For more information about the Mason Author Series, please contact John Warren, Head, Mason Publishing, publishing.gmu.edu

 

Mason Author Series: Helon Habila

Join the University Libraries, in conjunction with the Creative Writing Program’s New Leaves Festival, for a reading and signing by Helon Habila on Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30pm in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

Helon Habila, an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Mason, will discuss The Chibok Girls, his compassionate and powerful account of one of the most horrific recent tragedies to occur in Nigeria: the kidnapping of 276 girls from the Chibok Secondary School in April 2014 by Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest terrorist group whose name translated into English means “western education is abhorrent.” Habila, a native of Nigeria, traveled to the country twice to track down some of the escaped girls and their families and reconstruct what happened on that fateful day and how the town is coping. He situates the kidnappings within the political and historical context of the rise of Islamist extremism in Nigeria, which is deeply rooted in its tragic history of colonialism.

The University Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. Upcoming readings include Associate Professor Jennifer Ritterhouse on April 26 and Visiting Professor Michael Hayden on May 4.

Book Launch: The Five George Masons

University Professor Rosemarie Zagarri will be guest speaker at the book launch of The Five George Masons: Patriots and Planters of Virginia and Maryland, by Pamela C. Copeland and Richard K. MacMaster, recently published in a new, second edition by the George Mason University Press. The event will be held on Wednesday, April 6th, at 3:00 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

Dr. Zagarri will speak about “George Mason in History and Memory” as part of the Mason Author Series, sponsored by the University Libraries and the University Bookstore. The Mason Author Series highlights significant publications of George Mason University faculty and alumni.

Rosemarie Zagarri received her Ph.D. from Yale University and is currently University Professor and Professor of History at George Mason University. She is the author of several books, has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, and received a number of national fellowships and awards. In 2009, she was elected President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), the national organization for early Americanists.

First published in 1975, the second edition of The Five George Masons has been published in collaboration with the Board of Regents of Gunston Hall, and features an introductory note by George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera; a foreword by Scott Stroh, Executive Director of Gunston Hall; and new images and maps.

The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

For more information, contact: John Warren, Head, Mason Publishing/George Mason University Press, University Libraries, George Mason University
Office: 703-993-3636 • Email: jwarre13@gmu.edu