Set in the tense and uncertain years before World War II, Fear Itself follows Jimmy Nessheim, a young Special Agent in the fledgling FBI, as he goes undercover to infiltrate a new German-American organization known as the Bund. Ardently pro-Nazi, the Bund is conspiring to sabotage American efforts against Adolf Hitler. But it becomes increasingly clear that something far more sinister is at work, something that seems to lead directly to the White House.
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Los Angeles, September 1941. With the Nazis occupying Europe, and their armies now halfway across Russia, America hovers on the brink of war. Tensions are also rising in the Far East, and in California fears grow of a Pacific Coast invasion. There is mounting anxiety about the loyalty of the state’s own Japanese population. But back in Washington D.C., Director J. Edgar Hoover is more concerned about promoting the image of the FBI than about preparing for war, and dispatches Special Agent Nessheim to Hollywood to help make pro-FBI movies.
Autumn, 1941. At a secret meeting in Washington, FBI Assistant Director Harry Guttman is told that the Soviet Union has been infiltrating the highest levels of the United States government. Fifty thousand dollars has been wired by Russian intelligence officers in New York to a Japanese bank in Los Angeles, but the trail goes cold. Special Agent Jimmy Nessheim knows a local informant who's willing to help, but he vanishes mysteriously overnight.
Fall, 1942. In the midst of war, Special Agent Jimmy Nessheim has asked for extended leave from the FBI. Becoming a law student at the University of Chicago seems like the perfect way to re-enter normal civilian life. But the University of Chicago is home to more than an erstwhile FBI agent. Deep under the stands at Staff Field, renowned scientist Enrico Fermi is beginning work on what will become known as the Manhattan Project.