The ‘Spook Who Sat By The Door’ is a fictional novel that follows the life of Dan Freeman, the first Black CIA agent. Agent Freeman is seen as a model Black citizen in White America, earning him the title of “Uncle Tom” within the black community. Only, his model minority behavior is all a well-orchestrated act to learn the ways and tactics used against the Black community. Freeman ultimately wishes to use his newly acquired knowledge to empower his community.
Author Sam Greenlee uses his fictional novel to force readers to think about what the potential of a grassroots uprising within the Black community could entail. He also manages to show the dichotomy of relationships and interests within the Black community, showcasing the ideologies of both the people that are in support of change, and others that prefer to keep status quo. Greenlee, being a former US Army officer, has been said to have used parallels from his own life experiences within the military as reference points in the novel.
Ironically, the book was originally published in 1969, only five years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, but there are many parallels you can still see between the interactions amongst many urban communities and their local police force. The novel is a emblematic playbook on how to integrate and use the system against itself. ‘The Spook Who Sat By The Door’ is definitely an interesting read to say the least. At times it’s a bit hard to follow as it jumps around throughout the story, but nonetheless it will not leave you disappointed!
Book: The Spook Who Sat By The Door
Author: Sam Greenlee