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Jon Wiener

Contributing Editor

Jon Wiener is host and producer of “Start Making Sense,” The Nation’s weekly podcast. He’s an emeritus professor of US history at UC Irvine, and his most recent book is How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America. He sued the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act for its files on John Lennon. With the help of the ACLU of Southern California, Wiener v. FBI went all the way to the Supreme Court before the FBI settled in 1997. That story is told in Wiener’s book, Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files; some of the pages of the Lennon FBI file are posted here. The story is also told in the documentary, “The U.S. Versus John Lennon,” released in 2006.  His work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times. It has been translated into Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Italian.

Wiener also hosts a weekly afternoon drive-time interview show on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles His guests have included Gail Collins, Jane Mayer, Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frank Rich, Seymour Hersh, Amos Oz, Mike Davis, Elmore Leonard, John Dean, Julian Bond, Al Franken, and Terry Gross.

Jon Wiener was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and attended Central High School there. He has a B.A. from Princeton and a Ph.D. from Harvard, where he began working as a writer in the late sixties for the underground paper The Old Mole. He lives in Los Angeles.


  • MusicFebruary 23, 2000

    Lennon’s MI5-FBI Files

    The headline in the Sunday Times of London was spectacular: Lennon Funded Terrorists and Trotskyists. It was also erroneous.

    Jon Wiener

  • HistoryAugust 19, 1999

    Saving History From the Shredder

    They call him "the world's most famous bank guard": Christoph Meili, the former night watchman at the Union Bank of Switzerland in Zurich who in 1997 rescued from the shredder documents that desc

    Jon Wiener

  • Non-fictionJune 24, 1999

    Holocaust Creationism

    Between 1945 and 1947 the United States underwent perhaps the most breathtaking ideological transformation in its history.

    Jon Wiener

  • CitiesFebruary 4, 1999

    LA Story: Backlash of the Boosters

    What happens to a leading Marxist writer after he gets a MacArthur genius grant, a Getty Fellowship, and his new book hits number one on the nonfiction bestseller list?

    Jon Wiener

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