Daly City Public Library Associates

Author David Talbot

David Talbot spoke about his two most recent books and answered a bevy of questions at the latest author talk sponsored by the DCPLA and hosted by Peninsula del Rey.


“Season of the Witch” chronicles San Francisco from the rebellious 1960s to the Super Bowl Champs of the 1980s. For a quarter century San Francisco was a city at war with itself whose chief distinctions were tolerance, creativity and innovation. A city experiencing societal earthquakes of sorts with the Summer of Love, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, Dan White and the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and the rebirth of the 49ers.


In January, 1982, an NFL Championship game featured the Dallas Cowboys, aka America’s Team, against Bill Walsh’s 49ers, a band of castoffs and untested rookies.  The game’s final drive resulted in ‘The Catch’ as Joe Montana threw to Dwight Clark for a stunning last-minute victory. As Mr. Talbot notes, “Cities, like people, have souls. And they can be broken by terrible events, but they can also be healed. It was just a game. It was just one catch. But sometimes that’s enough.”


David Talbot’s most recent work, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government,” tells of our nation under attack by rogue forces from within. It has a historical, national perspective and has been described as a chillingly brilliant page-turner. Talbot’s discussion was much the same.


Allen Dulles colluded with the Nazis, his pre-war clients, and organized crime, and he sounds more like a character out of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” than the longest serving Director of the CIA. Allen Dulles felt he was above the law and used the CIA to further his own political agenda. Talbot draws the links between the CIA and the destruction of democratically elected governments and assassinations of their leaders. Talbot’s research offers new evidence of a link between Dulles, who was fired after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the man who had fired him.


Have we become our own worst enemy? Is there a shadow government in Washington comprised of secretive intelligence agencies?  Perhaps the truth is stranger than fiction.


What does the future hold for David Talbot and his writing career?  He is going to try his hand a fiction next. Oh, and look for “Season of the Witch: The Musical”.