JOEL WHITNEY at Books Inc. Berkeley

author image of Joel Whitney and cover photo of his book Flights

Join critically acclaimed essayist Joel Whitney at Books Inc. Berkeley for a reading and signing of his new book Flights: Radicals on the Run!

Joel will be joined in conversation with award-winning author Ingrid Rojas Contreras.

Told through the lives of the American Century’s most talented and stubborn dissidents, Flights is the archetypal hero’s journey of a group of progressives whose struggle for truth, and for freedom from persecution, sent them into exile, both literal and metaphorical.

Wanted for a crime she did not commit, Professor Angela Davis went on the run in 1970, describing the struggle against panic in her nightly safehouse transfers: “Living as a fugitive means resisting hysteria, distinguishing between the creations of a frightened imagination and the real signs that the enemy is near.” In her quest “to elude him, outsmart him,” she recalled, “Thousands of my ancestors had waited, as I had…for nightfall to cover their steps…”

Davis is just one of a rich array of refugees portrayed here by Joel Whitney, all forced to flee homes and/or friends because of their progressive stance. In these pages are compelling profiles of Seymour Hersh, Lorraine Hansberry, Graham Greene, Paul Robeson, Gabriel García Márquez, George & Mary Oppen, Frances Stonor Saunders, Malcolm X, Octavio Paz, Diego Rivera, Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier, N. Scott Momaday, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemalan guerrilla fighter Everado and his American wife Jennifer Harbury, Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchú, deposed Honduran President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya and murdered Lenca environmentalist Berta Cáceres.

At once a group portrait of these geniuses of creative escape, Flights is also a prehistory (and indictment) of American mass surveillance, culminating in Edward Snowden’s revelations, of torture, culminating in Abu Ghraib, of censorship, culminating in the incarceration of journalist Julian Assange, of fascism, culminating in January 6, and of political murder, culminating in the Bush-Obama-Trump air assassination program.


“An absolutely overwhelming, magisterial tour-de-force.”
—Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“Mind-bending . . . so profound and original it defies a brief endorsement.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous People's History of the United States

"Marvelous vignettes [that] shed new light on intriguing lives."
—Gerald Horne, author of The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance & the Origins of the USA

"Fine-grained and deeply engaging."
—Astra Taylor, author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone

"Necessary, compelling and often shocking."
—Francine Prose, author of The Vixen


Joel Whitney is the author of Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, which The New Republic called a “powerful warning.” His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Baffler, The Wall Street Journal, Boston ReviewNew York Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a former features editor at Al Jazeera America and a founder and former editor-in-chief of Guernica, for which he was awarded the 2017 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Excellence in Editing. His essays in The Baffler, Dissent and Salon  were Notables in Best American Essays 2017, 2015 and 2013. 

Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, was a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. It was a winner of a California Book Award. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor's choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Cut, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. Rojas Contreras has received numerous awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. She is a Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s College. She lives in California.


Event date: 
Tuesday, August 20, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Berkeley
1491 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Flights: Radicals on the Run By Joel Whitney Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682194317
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: OR Books - May 21st, 2024