“A well researched and absorbing record of a respected family highlighting its pursuit by ASIO. A great read.” – Bernard Rechter (former director of the Monash University Centre for Jewish Civilisation).
“Delightfully written and fastidiously researched, Reds Under The Bed is a fascinating look at the history of one immigrant family, and the surprising amount of attention paid to them by Australia’s overzealous security services.” – Ted Plafker, foreign correspondent and author
Reds Under the Bed describes the abiding interest of Australia’s intelligence community in a family of Russian Jews who immigrated in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The author, Michael Komesaroff, is a descendant of those immigrants. The author’s feelings of love and respect for those ancestors match his feelings for Australia. His meticulous research informs this account of a group whose very hallmark was loyalty. The Komesaroffs were loyal Jews who became loyal citizens of Australia. Jewish loyalty mandated their love of Zion and their opposition to fascism, while loyalty to the country of adoption saw them acknowledged as exemplary citizens. Somehow ASIO became all too interested in the Jewish concerns of the Komesaroffs and quite blind to their lives as citizens.
Michael Komesaroff writes his family’s story dispassionately, in clear and clean prose. He shows us how Australians of the most ordinary loyalty can come under the suspicion of Intelligence organisations. In our times, when mistrust of the citizenry is translated into something of a growth industry, this book reminds us of the calm and intelligent balance needed between a community’s needs of security and of community. Between the covers of Reds Under the Bed, ASIO emerges, showing limited intelligence. –Howard Goldenberg, author of Raft and Carrots and Jaffas
“Michael Komesaroff’s painstakingly researched but entertainingly written book dives deeply into two intriguing worlds – that of his Lithuanian/Ukrainian Jewish migrant family, and that of the intelligence bureaucracy that conducted substantial surveillance on a generation of family members. Its focus illuminates – more clearly than many encyclopaedic accounts of the secret world – the dangers of mistaking dissent for disloyalty.” – Rowan Callick, author of Party Time: Who Runs China, and How
ASIO maintained a vast library of files on half a million citizens, most of whom were never a threat to Australia’s security. Through meticulous research, Michael Komesaroff has been able to sift through a multitude of records which were kept on his family, and discover why. This is not only an account of one family’s activities, but more broadly, a history of the widespread fear of the presence and influence of communist sympathisers in Australia in the twentieth century.
About the author: A graduate in electrical engineering, Michael Komesaroff has spent a large part of his adult life living and working in Asia on the region’s mineral industries. He is also a freelance journalist and has been a frequent contributor to conferences and journals on Asia and its economic development. He was Executive in Residence to the School of International Affairs at Pennsylvania State University in 2010 and a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Asian Business at the University of South Australia. He now lives in Melbourne.
Scheduled Release July 2018