My Father the Spy: An Investigative Memoir by John H. Richardson

By John H. Richardson

As his father nears dying in his retirement domestic in Mexico, John H. Richardson starts to solve a lifestyles packed with drama and secrecy. John Sr. was once a Cia "chief of station" on many of the most popular assignments of the chilly struggle, from the again alleys of occupied Vienna to the jungles of the Philippines—and specifically Saigon, the place he turned a pivotal participant within the turning aspect of the Vietnam struggle: the overthrow of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem. As John Jr. and his sister got here of age in unique postings internationally, they struggled to deal with themselves to their pushed, far away father, and their clash opens a window at the tumult of the sixties and Vietnam.

during the day-by-day happenings at domestic and his father's activities, reconstructed from declassified records in addition to large interviews with former spies and govt officers, Richardson unearths the innermost workings of a relatives enmeshed within the chilly War—and the deeper struggle that turns the area of the fathers into the area of the sons.

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My Father the Spy: An Investigative Memoir

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A month later, he posts his last letter from the United States. ” There isn’t much else to say. After an eighteen-mile hike with a full field pack, he feels marvelous. The picture of baby John Chisler in his billfold—he’ll carry it with him when he goes across. In the event he doesn’t return, he wants George to have his books. , where he visited all the monuments and even the tombs of George and Martha Washington. I made a particular point of visiting Jefferson’s monument—very beautiful—with a great statue of Jefferson standing.

And even though Paris is more beautiful and London is more interesting, he just feels more comfortable in Berlin. But there are so many troubling details. S. WINS OLYMPIC GAMES. In Berlin, everyone insists that the Germans won. And one day he’s talking to a perfectly nice young Austrian who tells him that back in 1933 just after the Nazis came to power, a friend of his 32 • MY FATHER THE SPY got excited and cut off an old Jew’s beard and was immediately deported. This proves the courts aren’t unfair and Germany isn’t really anti-Semitic, the Austrian insists.

When he got home and saw his mother, he got another shock. ” She was dying. He told the draft board she didn’t have long, but they ordered him to report for duty anyway. Then he went home and a few days later their doctor came to the house, walking heavily up the stairs. He said later that he believed the doctor gave her something and had always been grateful for this act of mercy. For my sister, he summed the terrible moment up in a single line: I awoke in the morning to find that she had died in her sleep, jaw hanging slack.

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