My Father the Spy: An Investigative Memoir

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Harper Collins, Aug 2, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 314 pages
14 Reviews

As his father nears death in his retirement home in Mexico, author John H. Richardson begins to unravel a life filled with drama and secrecy. In the first years of World War II, his father, then an idealistic student of literature and sociology, was recruited into military intelligence and thrown into action in Europe, getting his education on the fly as he roamed the battlefields of Italy and Austria, hunting spies and saboteurs. One of the founding members of the CIA, he quickly emerged as a seasoned "chief of station" in some of the hottest assignments of the cold war, from the back alleys of occupied Vienna to the ballrooms of Athens to the jungles of the Philippines -- and especially Saigon, where he became a pivotal player in the event most historians see as the turning point of the Vietnam War, the overthrow of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem.

He had also become a family man, with a wife and two children. As John Jr. and his sister came of age in exotic postings across the world, they struggled to accommodate themselves to their father, by now a rigid and distant cold warrior, and their conflict opens a window on the tumult of the sixties and Vietnam. Only years after the CIA called John Sr. back to the States to teach other spies did father and son repair their relationship, developing a profound emotional and intellectual connection.

Through the daily happenings at home, and his father's actions, reconstructed from declassified documents and extensive interviews with former spies and government officials, Richardson reveals both the innermost workings of a family that played an important role in the clandestine wrangling of the cold war and the deeper war that turns the world of the fathers into the world of the sons.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PedrBran - LibraryThing

I read this a few years ago while on vacation in Hawaii. The house I rented on the North West coast of the big island had a nice collection of books in one of the bedrooms. Although I had brought my ... Read full review

Review: My Father The Spy: An Investigative Memoir

User Review  - Goodreads

Kind of interesting if you like USA politics... Not my kind of book but I did finish it. Read full review

Contents

A Plane Crash a Bomb
149
Buddist Trouble
159
Kill Tung First
168
The Pagoda Attacks
172
Point of No Return
178
On the Assassination List
186
Replace Richardson
192
CIA Chief Recalled
197

Entering the Secret World
46
The War Begins
51
Catching Spies
57
The War Ends
65
Trieste
69
Vienna
81
Martinis Poker Cigarettes
90
The Squirrel Cage
95
Joel Roberts
105
Virginia 1953
113
Athens
118
Manila
129
Saigon
141
Virginia 1963
203
Director of Training
215
Seoul 1969
225
Kick Out the Jams
237
Hawaii Korea Hawaii Korea 197173
250
Mexico
261
Pure Apple Juice Son
273
Conversations with Old Spies
284
Mexico 1998
294
Source Notes
307
Acknowledgments
313
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

John H. Richardson is a writer-at-large for Esquire.

Bibliographic information