Re: RARA-AVIS: Phillips death

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 28 Sep 2000 wrote:

> James Atlee Phillips died in 1991. He and his musician son Shawn (who looks
> to have been very much into the counterculture of the 60s) apparently had a
> good relationship. Everyone who followed the "Philip Atlee" novels know he
> became disallusioned toward the end. But I was unprepared for the bitterness
> of the 1974 poem by James A. Phillips that his his son Shawn used for
> inspiration for an album that same year. Called "Freeway Child," the poem
> talks of "Amerika" and pot-bellied pigs as police.

I don't know Shawn Phillips, but I definitely must ask around. This sounds interesting!

> One has to wonder how much James A. Phillips was influenced by the career and
> later infamy as a CIA operative.

You're saying his later books are bitter. You mean towards the espionage business, CIA and all that?

> According to chat rooms devoted to James Phillips son Shawn, James claimed
> the CIA tried to recruit him if for no more than to make certain tha the
> communists were always the villains and etc. He told Shawn he refused.
> There are fans of Shawn who make unsupported claims that others took the
> money including the authors of the Chet Drum and Executioner series. I say
> again "unsupported" for I cannot believe it and think it is the product of a
> simplistic view of the era.

Reading the Executioner books one wonders why this couldn't be the case. But nevertheless this sounds a typical counterculture paranoia that seems to be pretty big in USA, just think about X-Files.

> But the more I look into James A. Phillips aka Philip Atlee, the more
> interesting it becomes.

It sure does. If you find out anything more, please let us know.


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