Cover image for The spook who sat by the door
The spook who sat by the door
Greenlee, Sam, 1930-2014.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1990.

Physical Description:
248 pages ; 22 cm.
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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A classic in the black literary tradition, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is both a comment on the civil rights problems in the United States in the late 1960s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy.

Dan Freeman, the "spook who sat by the door," is enlisted in the CIA's elitist espionage program. Upon mastering agency tactics, however, he drops out to train young Chicago blacks as "Freedom Fighters" in this explosive, award-winning novel.

As a story of one man's reaction to ruling-class hypocrisy, the book is autobiographical and personal. As a tale of a man's reaction to oppression, it is universal.

Author Notes

Sam Greenlee was born on July 13, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. He received a B.S. in political science from the University of Wisconsin in 1952 and attended the University of Chicago. He was one of the first African Americans to join the U.S. foreign service. From 1957 to 1965, he worked for the U.S. Information Agency and served in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Greece. He was the author of Blues for an African Princess, Baghdad Blues: The Revolution That Brought Saddam Hussein to Power, and Ammunition!: Poetry and Other Raps. He was best known for The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which was published in 1969 and adapted into a film in 1973. He died on May 19, 2014 at the age of 83.

(Bowker Author Biography)