About Jon Wiener

Jon Wiener is professor of history at the University of California Irvine, contributing editor to The Nation magazine, and Los Angeles radio host.  In 1983 he sued the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act for their files on John Lennon; the FBI had refused to release most of the file, claiming it contained “national security” documents.  With the help of the ACLU of Southern California, “Wiener v. FBI” went all the way to the Supreme Court before the FBI settled it in 1997, releasing all but ten of the contested pages.  That story is told, and thse pages are reproduced, in Wiener’s book Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files; some of the pages of the Lennon FBI file are posted online at http://www.LennonFBIfiles.com.  The story is also told in the documentary, "The U.S. Versus John Lennon," by David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, released by Lions Gate in September, 2006; Wiener served as historical consultant for the film, and appears in it.  His earlier books include Come Together: John Lennon in His Time (Random House, 1984), an account of Lennon’s place in the radical politics and counterculture of the 1960s. 

In the 2005 book Historians in Trouble (The New Press), Wiener notes that some historians accused of misconduct have their careers destroyed, while others end up receiving the National Humanities Medal from George W. Bush – and asks, why is that?  “Wiener takes the modern university as his beat, and covers it like a police reporter," reviewer John Leonard wrote.  "Wiener's mean streets are the think tank, the scholarly symposium, and the faculty lounge." 

Wiener started writing for The Nation in 1984 and has published more than 100 articles there. His journalism has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times.  His scholarly articles have appeared in The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, the Past & Present.  His work has been translated into Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, and Italian.

Wiener hosts a weekly afternoon drive-time interview show on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles (http://www.JonWiener.com).  Guests have included Barbara Ehrenreich, Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Victor Navasky, Katha Pollitt, Mike Davis, John Dean, Julian Bond, Al Franken, and Terry Gross of the NPR show “Fresh Air.”

Wiener is a graduate of St. Paul Central High School.  He has a B.A. from Princeton, and a Ph.D. from Harvard.  He’s taught at UC Irvine since 1973.  He is married to video artist and photographer Judy Fiskin.


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