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

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As his father nears death in his retirement home in Mexico, John H. Richardson begins to unravel a life filled with drama and secrecy. John Sr. was a CIA "chief of station" on some of the hottest assignments of the Cold War, from the back alleys of occupied Vienna to the jungles of the Philippines—and especially Saigon, where he became a pivotal player in the turning point of the Vietnam War: the overthrow of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem. As John Jr. and his sister came of age in exotic postings across the world, they struggled to accommodate themselves to their driven, distant father, and their conflict opens a window on the tumult of the sixties and Vietnam.

Through the daily happenings at home and his father's actions, reconstructed from declassified documents as well as extensive interviews with former spies and government officials, Richardson reveals the innermost workings of a family enmeshed in the Cold War—and the deeper war that turns the world of the fathers into the world of the sons.


About John H. Richardson

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John H. Richardson is a writer-at-large for Esquire and the author of In the Little World and The Viper's Club. His fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and the O. Henry Prize Stories collection. He lives in Katonah, New York.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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was patient and decent—he railed against the ugly Americans—but he held the conviction that “we have to support vicious dictators because an authoritarian government can evolve but a totalitarian government can only be opposed from the outside.” He took his authoritarian poison, Richardson notes,...

Jun 01 2005 | Read Full Review of My Father the Spy: An Investi...

The New York Times

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("When people ask you what your father does in the embassy, just say that I'm a 'special assistant to the ambassador,' " he tells his family upon arriving in Seoul in 1969, though by that point everybody knows the drill.) As Richardson and his sister enter their teens, yearning for any kind of re...

Oct 02 2005 | Read Full Review of My Father the Spy: An Investi...

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