Upton Close

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Upton Close born Josef Washington Hall (February 27, 1894 - November 13, 1960) was an explorer, adventurer, journalist, author, and radio commentator. He wrote several books on the Far East and contributed thousands of articles to magazines and newspapers. In the 1940s he became a radio commentator and was one of the few on the radio who were critical of FDR and his agenda. After the war he became associated with right-wing and nationalist causes and collaborated with antisemites like Robert H. Williams, Gerald L. K. Smith and George Deatherage. In December 1947 he disavowed his association with Smith.

Early life

Josef Washington Hall was born in Kelso, Washington in 1894. His father was a New Englander who moved out west and became involved in mining. His mother was from a French family that settled in Portland, Oregon and had family members who were geologists, archeologists and Arctic explorers. Hall was educated in Washington DC.

Far East journalism

He went to China as a Seventh Day Adventist missionary, later becoming a spy and news correspondent. During the First World War he worked with the American diplomatic service in China, gathering intelligence on German and Japanese interests. During this time he sent articles to magazines on the war where he would end them with the words “up close” indicating to his editors his eyewitness presences at the front.[1] Thru a misunderstanding "up close" was rewritten as Upton Close becomeing his nom de guerre which would stay with him for a lifetime.[2]

After the war he continued to report from China and became editor of the Peking Daily. He contributed articles to National Geographic Magazine reporting on the 1922 Kansu earthquake in China.[3] In the 1920s he was a popular speaker at local gatherings speaking on his travels in the Far East.

Radio and right-wing politics

Upton Close gave his first radio broadcast in 1924. In the 1940s he became more isolationist and became a persistent critic of FDR. In December 1944 he was canceled by NBC radio due to Jewish pressure. For a short period he broadcasted over the Mutual Radio network until 1946.

In July 1945 Upton Close and Merwin K. Hart formed the American Action Committee in Chicago. The group was later renamed American Action, Inc.

Upton Close had lived in Hollywood, Califorina and in November 1947 moved back to Washington DC. After living for a while in Palm Beach, Florida he retired to Mexico. In 1960 near Guadalajara Upton Close died in an auto collision with a train.

He published his commentaries in a weekly newsletter called Closer-ups.



  • Moonlady (1927) 375 pages
  • The Revolt of Asia: The End of the White Man's World Dominance (1927) 325 pages text
  • In the Land of the Laughing Buddha: The Adventures of an American Barbarian in China (1928) 359 pages text
  • Eminent Asians: Six Great Personalities of the Near East (1929) 508 pages
  • Challenge: Behind the Face of Japan (1934) 407 pages
  • Behind the Face of Japan (1942) 427 pages
  • The Ladder of History: A World History (1945) 825 pages


  • The ADL and Its Use in the World Communist Offensive
  • The Plan to Enslave Congress and You (1950) with John Howland Snow
  • The Treachery in Our Government (text) (ca. 1950)


  1. In the Land of the Laughing Buddha: The Adventures of an American Barbarian in China, by Upton Close, page 31
  2. Upton Close, Google Documents
  3. "Where the Mountains Walked", National Geographic Magazine, May 1922

See also

External links