Spook Who Sat by the Door

Sam GREENLEE

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Item#: 127439 price:$1,250.00

Spook Who Sat by the Door

"THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR WILL CAUSE MANY READERS GREAT ANNOYANCE—AND WHAT MORE CAN A WRITER ASK THAN THAT?" (LEN DEIGHTON)

GREENLEE, Sam. The Spook Who Sat by the Door. London: Allison & Busby, (1969). Octavo, original olive cloth, original dust jacket. $1250.

First edition, preceding the first American edition, of Greenlee's only novel, a controversial work depicting Black militancy in Chicago, the basis for the movie of the same name.

Greenlee worked for the United States Information Agency—a "professional propogandist in the foreign service," in his own words—in a number of overseas posts during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was living in Greece when he began writing The Spook Who Sat by the Door, extrapolated from his own experiences. The title, with the double meaning of "spook" as a racial slur and a spy, alludes to the practice of seating Black employees directly inside the office door as prominent evidence of the supposed integration of the company's workforce. The book's protagonist, Dan Freeman, is a CIA officer who quietly bides his time in the agency, learning its techniques of clandestine communication, guerilla warfare and encouraging insurgency before resigning and returning to Chicago, where he in turn starts training some of the local gangs to use these skills to protect rather than prey on the poor Black citizens of Chicago, ultimately leading to an outright war of liberation in the city streets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Greenlee failed to find an American publisher for the work, turning instead to the London publisher Allison & Busby after meeting the pioneering publisher Margaret Busby, a Ghana-born, England-educated editor and the youngest publisher in Britain at the time. In 1973 the book was turned into the cult classic movie of the same name, with a screenplay also by Greenlee.

Book fine, dust jacket about-fine with one faint mark to front panel. An excellent copy.

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