Book talk: The Committee with Sterling Watson

What: The Committee Book Talk with Sterling Watson
Where: Matheson History Museum
When: Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 pm
Cost: Free

The Matheson Museum will present a book talk with author Sterling Watson on Jan. 30. His book, The Committee, is a novelization of the infamous Johns Committee, a 1950s witch hunt for communists and homosexuals.

The Committee is set in Gainesville, a sleepy late 1950s Florida university city. Its characters — professors, students, townspeople rich and poor, and politicians — are both typical of such a place and unusual, even bizarre, for the challenges they face and the changes they undergo when their lives are suddenly disrupted by the nefarious workings of a shadowy group of men, The Committee, who use the powers of government and the police to investigate and reveal the most private acts of innocent men and women.

This is a story of love, both licit and hidden, war, friendship, betrayal, compromise, and finally the necessity to stand firm against the encroachments upon freedom by men who believe they do God’s and the government’s righteous work. 

Set against the backdrop of political turmoil and the clash of classes and cultures — Southern, academic, patrician, and demimonde — The Committee pits protagonist Tom Stall, scholarly, ambitious, and rising in his world of teaching and administration, against two men and a woman — a colleague, a university president, and an old friend turned deadly enemy — in a struggle for the soul of a town, a university, and an ideal.

Tension and suspense build with crushing inevitability as hidden forces and unforeseen events threaten Stall’s career and finally his very life.

A book signing will follow Mr. Watson’s presentation.

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