WHO: Meryle Secrest
WHAT: THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT OLIVETTI:
IBM, the CIA, and the Cold War Conspiracy to Shut Down Production of the World’s First Desktop Computer
WHEN: Published by Knopf November 8, 2019
WHERE: The author lives in Washington DC
WHY: “Cold War acts of sinister politics, ruthless espionage, and covert crimes…
“Exemplary arts biographer Meryl Secrest, whose subjects include Elsa Schiaparelli and Modigliani, enters a new arena as she portrays four generations of the visionary, even revolutionary Olivettis, Jewish Italian industrialists.
“Once Camillo Olivetti’s electrical engineering company attained international success for its fast, sleek typewriters, he moved his large family into an abandoned fifteenth-century convent in the foothills of the Alps. His eldest son, Adriano, a humanitarian with socialist ideals and a passion for innovation, further elevated Olivetti’s state-of-the-art design and technology. But Adriano’s progressive politics and anti-fascist efforts inadvertently imperiled both company and family when his son Roberto presciently entered the fledgling field of electronics.
“Secrest brings the extraordinary Olivetti clan vividly to life, reports on highly suspicious deaths, and dramatically illuminates their legendary company’s shocking downfall via long-hidden, deeply sordid conspiracies among fascists, Mafiosi, the CIA, IBM, GE, and Fiat to obliterate Olivetti’s crowning achievement and marvel of ingenuity, Programma 101, the first desktop computer.
“Deftly seeded with clues and lavish in intriguing detail, Secrest’s many-faceted exposé intensifies with dark surprise and traces the long, grasping tentacles of the American military-industrial complex.”
—Donna Seaman, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
“Fascinating…A riveting look at an ambitious and inventive family
deserving wider attention.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
With 219 color and b&w illustrations.
304 pages. $30 ISBN 978-0-451-49365-1
To interview the author, contact
Kathy Zuckerman | 212-572-2105