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The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia 20036
This event is a part of the Global Impact Discussion Series by Founder and Moderator Patricia Schouker, IWP Alumna
About the Book: Based on newly available information, the son of famed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers presents the facts and dispels misinformation about the Cold War espionage program that turned his father into a Cold War icon. One of the most talked-about events of the Cold War was the downing of the American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. Powers was captured by the KGB, subjected to a televised show trial, and imprisoned, all of which created an international incident. Soviet authorities eventually released him in exchange for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. On his return to the United States, Powers was exonerated of any wrongdoing while imprisoned in Russia, yet, due to bad press and the government's unwillingness to heartily defend Powers, a cloud of controversy lingered until his untimely death in 1977. Now his son, Francis Gary Powers Jr. and acclaimed historian Keith Dunnavant have written this new account of Powers's life based on personal files that had never been previously available. Delving into old audio tapes, letters his father wrote and received while imprisoned in the Soviet Union, the transcript of his father's debriefing by the CIA, other recently declassified documents about the U-2 program, and interviews with the spy pilot's contemporaries, Powers and Dunnavant set the record straight. The result is a fascinating piece of Cold War history. This is also a book about a son's journey to understand his father, pursuing justice and a measure of peace. Almost sixty years after the fact, Spy Pilot: Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 Incident, and a Controversial Cold War Legacy will be the definitive account of one of the most important events of the Cold War.
About the Author: Francis Gary Powers Jr. was born June 5, 1965, in Burbank, California, to Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master Degree in Public Administration/Certification in Non-profit Management from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. He is currently writing his thesis for his Master Degree in U.S. History from Adams State University, Alamosa, CO. Gary is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, a 501© (3) charity located at Vint Hill, VA. He founded the museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study, he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies, about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between KGB spy Rudolph Abel and CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr. Gary is the author of Letters from a Soviet Prison and Spy Pilot which both help to dispel the misinformation surrounding the U-2 Incident. He is a Board Member of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum near Omaha, NE and an Honorary Board Member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Due to his efforts to honor Cold War veterans the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans." Gary lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels.