The Wolf and the Watchman by Scott C. Johnson
A Father, a Son, and the CIA

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The Wolf is an easy, smooth, and fascinating read. Scott’s story is not told through rose colored glasses, but is an honest and revealing one that captures things the author might not have intended...
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Longlisted for the National Book Award and named a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year.


Growing up, Scott C. Johnson always suspected that his father was different. Only as a teenager did he discover the truth: his father was a spy, one of the CIA’s most trusted officers. At first the secret was thrilling. But over time Scott began to have doubts. How could a man so rigorously trained to deceive and manipulate simply turn off those skills at home? His father had been living a double life for so long that his lies were hard to separate from the truth.

When Scott embarked on a career as a foreign correspondent, he found himself returning to many of the troubled countries of his youth. In the dusty streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan, amid the cold urbanity of Yugoslavia, and down the mysterious alleys of Mexico City, he came face to face with his father’s murky past—and his own complicity in it. Scott learned that his chosen profession was not so different from his father’s: they both worked to gain people’s trust and to uncover their secrets. The only difference was what they did with that information.


In the aftermath of 9/11, father and son found themselves on assignment in Afghanistan and the Middle East, one as a CIA contractor, the other as a reporter for Newsweek. Suddenly, an unsettled Scott was forced to keep his father’s secret all over again. As their professional lives collided, Scott and his father inched toward a personal reckoning, struggling to overcome a lifetime of suspicion and deception.


The Wolf and the Watchman is a provocative, meditative account of truth and duplicity, of manipulation and loyalty. It is also a moving, intensely personal portrait of a bond between father and son that endured in the shadow of one of the world’s most secretive and unforgiving institutions.


* PEN Center USA Award Finalist


Reading group guide available.

 

About Scott C. Johnson

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Scott C. Johnson was a Newsweek foreign correspondent for twelve years, often providing exclusive war reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts in the Middle East. He is now a freelance journalist and writer living in Oakland, California.
 
Published May 20, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company. 321 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Wolf and the Watchman
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Kirkus

Good
on Mar 31 2013

Gripping, emotional depictions of the conflicts that rage in the interior and exterior worlds of a spy—and of a journalist.

Read Full Review of The Wolf and the Watchman: A ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by David Rosman on May 20 2013

The Wolf is an easy, smooth, and fascinating read. Scott’s story is not told through rose colored glasses, but is an honest and revealing one that captures things the author might not have intended...

Read Full Review of The Wolf and the Watchman: A ... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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