Aaron Leonard presents 'Whole World in an Uproar: Music, Rebellion and Repression – 1955-1972'

A historian's account of how the radical music of the 1960s was birthed

Third Place Books is pleased to welcome Aaron Leonard—author of The Folk Singers and the Bureau: The FBI, the Folk Artists and the Suppression of the Communist Party, USA-1939-1956—for a discussion of his new book, Whole World in an Uproar: Music, Rebellion and Repression – 1955-1972. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

Artists such as Miriam Makeba, Bob Dylan, and Nina Simone transformed pop music in the 1960s, but they did not do so without a fight. At every turn, they were confronted by deeply entrenched forces within the status quo. Whole World in an Uproar—through personal accounts, FBI files, and the media of the day—tells the story of these struggles playing out amid the unprecedented social upheaval of the sixties and their lasting legacy.

This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

Click here for more about our COVID-19 policies for in-person events.

Having trouble accessing Eventbrite? Click here.


Tickets available now

for this in-person event


About Whole World in an Uproar. . .

How the radical music of the 1960s was birthed amid unprecedented upheaval and systemic repression.

Seventy years since the radical music of the 1960s first hit the airwaves, the anthems of the era continue to resonate with our current times. 

Through studying these musicians and the political contexts in which their pioneering songs were birthed; amidst paranoia, psychedelic delusions, desire and civil unrest; Aaron Leonard’s Whole World in an Uproar is an important new critical history of countercultural music from the Summer of Love to the unwelcome arrival of Bob Dylan.


Praise for Whole World in an Uproar. . .

"Even Spiro Agnew acknowledged that mid-century artists weren't conspiring to subvert unsuspecting Americans, but that didn't prevent powerful institutions from drawing a bead on them and their work. What happened when HUAC, the FBI, Jim Crow, corporate media outlets, drug warriors, the religious right, and even the Old Left tried to stop a freight train? Drawing on a broad range of sources, including FBI files, Whole World in an Uproar recounts that momentous story.'
—Peter Richardson, author of No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead

"A fascinating counter-history of the 1960s music revolution through the eyes of the persecutors, paranoiacs and culture warriors who tried to stop it."
—Dorian Lynskey, author of 33 Revolutionary Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs

"The folk singers I knew and worked with in the 1960s assumed the government was keeping tabs on us, but we  didn't know the extent of its oversight. Aaron Leonard  integrates an amazing amount of research into a story that  ranges from FBI surveillance of the Old Left (the Communist  Party and the Trotskyist organizations) to the rock scene to the social dissension around the anti-Vietnam War and Black liberation movements. Whole World in an Uproar is  a well-thought through, fascinating documentary about movements and people who were affected by oppressive societal actions."
 —Terri Thal

Aaron J. Leonard is the author of Heavy Radicals: The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists, Threat of the First Magnitude, and The Folk Singers & the Bureau. He has a BA in Social Sciences and History magna cum laude, from New York University. He lives in Los Angeles.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email events@thirdplacebooks.com or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.