the documentary film about the Media burglary, produced and directed by award-winning film maker Johanna Hamilton, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. For information about the film and future screenings click here: www.1971film.com
On the night of March 8, 1971, eight seemingly ordinary people showed extraordinary courage and carried out one of the most powerful acts of non-violent resistance in American history. In a search for evidence of whether the FBI was spying on Americans in order to suppress dissent, they broke into an FBI office in Media, PA, a sleepy old town southwest of Philadelphia that once was a stop on the Underground Railroad, the network of secret routes slaves traveled from the South to freedom. In the dark, and with the crackling sounds of the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier world championship boxing match filling homes and bars throughout the world that night – and providing cover for this burglary – these amateur burglars stole every file in the office.
Dramatic news at the time, but little remembered now, the Media burglary was the beginning of the end of the mythical FBI the bureau’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, had constructed in the American mind over nearly a half century through the successful efforts of a vast internal public relations office operated with public funds.
Now, with the publication of The Burglary, the full story of the Media burglary is told for the first time. The burglars, never found by the FBI despite one of the largest investigations in the bureau’s history, have been found by the author and interviewed extensively for The Burglary. In addition to revealing the motivations and life stories of the burglars, who kept their secret for 43 years, The Burglary also documents the very significant impact of this burglary that shocked the public and moved congress, long intimidated by Hoover, to acknowledge the FBI director’s illegal and damaging actions.
PURCHASE The Burglary
Hardback and paperback through Random House by clicking here.
Audio version by Audible here.
Large print edition here.
The Burglary in the news:
The New York Review of Books:
The Burglars Who Exposed the FBI
National Catholic Reporter:
Reporting on anti-war Catholics and the FBI
Just Being Black Was Enough to Get Yourself Spied on by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI
Learning From the FBI Media Burglars
Remembering an earlier time when a theft unmasked government surveillance
The New York Times:
Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows
Burglars in 1971 FBI office break-in come forward after 43 years
After 43 years, activists admit theft at FBI office that exposed domestic spying
National Public Radio:
The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI
It Was Time to Do More Than Protest
The Daily Beast:
The FBI File Heist That Changed History
New York Magazine:
Activists Confess to 1971 Burglary That Exposed FBI Surveillance