Coming February 14, 2023


Artists such as Jim Morrison, Miriam Makeba, Bob Dylan, and Nina Simone transformed pop music in the 1960s, but they did not do so without a fight. They were confronted by deeply entrenched forces within the status quo who pushed back against them. This book charts the rise of these artists, the opposition they encountered, and how they responded—all amid the unprecedented upheaval of the Black freedom movement, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and the arising of the counterculture. Through the use of previously unreleased FBI files and other government documents, interviews, extensive research of the media of the day, and other works, the book brings to light a hidden and unexplored aspect of a period in history that continues to impact our world.

Advance 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, manager of ‘60s folk singers including then-husband Dave Van Ronk, friend Bob Dylan (at the start of his career), the Holy Modal Rounders, Maggie and Terre Roche & a former Trotskyist with her own FBI file.