By 1935, Hitler had installed himself as Germany's dictator and was already turning his dangerous ambitions abroad. Yet many Americans remained largely indifferent to the growing threat abroad. William Bailey was not among them. So when the SS Bremen
, the flagship of Hitler's commercial armada, was welcomed into New York Harbor just days after violent anti-Semitic riots broke out in Berlin, Bailey wouldn't stand for it.
The little-known story of what happened next forms the backbone of Peter Duffy's deeply researched, lively, and inspiring book. Bailey led a small group that slipped past guards and cut down the Nazi flag from the boat in the middle of a lavish party. A brawl ensued, followed by a media circus, and a trial, in which Bailey and his team were stunningly acquitted. The political victory ultimately exposed Hitler's narcissism and violent aggression for all of America to see.
The Agitator is the captivating story of Bailey's courage and vision in the Bremen incident, as well as his adventures in the Spanish Civil War, during both World Wars, and eventually the onslaught of McCarthyism. It celebrates Bailey as a man with a big personality and a bigger heart, one of the few who saw the danger of fascism early, and fought it with everything he had.