Memoir Literature

I - L

Irwin, Richard G. KH601: “And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free,” My Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. Herndon, VA: Fortis, 2010.

According to Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), this book tells the author's "story of life overseas, with adventures in Latin America, Europe, and at Headquarters, during which he visited 87 countries while raising a family. He covers his training, his duties on the DCI security staff, his realization that work as an analyst was not for him, and a special assignment in Africa to conduct a personal protection survey.... His final overseas tour was in Afghanistan, where he implemented security measures at various locations. Irwin's career was not without its bumps, which he describes with candor, but he ended as a senior manager."

Johnson, Scott C. The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, A Son, and the CIA. New York: Norton, 2013.

Peake, Studies 57.4 (Dec. 2013),finds that this "is the story of an extraordinarily close relationship between a CIA father and his son, one that is dominated by the son's continuing struggle to understand the clandestine world and its morality. It is probably not a typical story, but it will be of interest to families whose members have chosen or are contemplating careers in intelligence."

Karlow, S. Peter. Targeted by the CIA: An Intelligence Professional Speaks Out on the Scandal that Turned the CIA Upside Down. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing, 2001.

Karlow died on 3 November 2005. Louie Estrada, "CIA Officer Serge 'Peter' Karlow, 84," Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2005, B5.

Jonkers, AFIO WIN 10-2, 11 Mar. 2002, notes that when Soviet defector Alexander Golitsin told James Angleton that there was a mole within CIA whose name started with a "K," Karlow's career ended and years of turmoil began. Karlow "was finally completely cleared, compensated and decorated." The author tells his story, from OSS into the Cold War years, "in easy to read fluid prose" and "without bitterness or rancor."

Kassinger, Jack. Holding Hands with Heroes. Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing, 2010.

From publisher: This work "chronicles a common man's service to his country -- from ... Vietnam as a young, enlisted Marine, to the halls of the Central Intelligence Agency where service and dedication to a cause became a way of life." Peake, Studies 55.2 (Jun. 2011), finds that the author "explains the critical services a support officer provides to espionage and covert action operations. His vivid descriptions of CIA support operations in Somalia and other African nations make the point."

Kiriakou, John, with Michael Ruby. The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror. New York: Bantam, 2009.

For Stein, Bookforum (Feb.-Mar. 2010), it is "disconcerting to read Kiriakou's memoir and find that he really has nothing to add to our understanding of the momentous events that riled the spy agency during his time there." This "heavily scrubbed memoir is chock-full of quotidian details about assignments, promotions, divorce, remarriage, and the challenges of sharing child custody while serving undercover abroad. It's a memoir as mundane as an insurance investigator's."

Wippl, IJI&C 23.4 (Winter 2010-2011), notes that the author "was a middle-level officer, who left the NCS [National Clandestine Service] after fifteen years.... His descriptions of events and people have an immediacy often unfiltered by experience or maturity." The reviewer argues that Kiriakou fails in his attempt to deal with the issue of torture. Although he "condemns torture, he condemns no one who tolerated it." To Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), the author "gives a realistic picture of the challenges and opportunities" a prospctive intelligence officer "can expect with the right skills and motivation."

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B. Jr. The Real CIA. New York: Macmillan, 1968.

Clark comment: Kirkpatrick describes his career in OSS and CIA. Among other positions, he served as the Agency's Inspector General and Executive Director- Comptroller (then the third ranking job in the CIA). He left the CIA in 1965 to teach political science at Brown University. Because of the senior positions he held, Kirkpatrick's account of events in the CIA's first 18 years are worth reading. Lyman Kirkpatrick died 27 February 1995. His obituary appears in the New York Times, 6 Mar. 1995, A16 (N).

In his comments on the book, Constantinides finds Kirkpatrick selective in what he chose to write about. He also identifies some dated material in the book, but notes that that there is much here of "historical value." Lowenthal finds Kirkpatrick's work to be a "useful and sometimes critical insider's memoir, with insights on several key events and developments through 1965."

Kiyonaga, Bina Cady. My Spy: Memoir of a CIA Wife. New York: Avon, 2000.

Bowman, CNN, 24 Mar. 2000, calls Kiyonaga a "gifted narrator, [who] could make even the most mundane existence sound fascinating.... Though the scope of this book is huge in its politics, its culture and its religion, its core is simple. 'My Spy' is a funny, beautiful and unique love story. It is a love letter to Joe Kiyonaga." [http://www.cnn.com/2000/books/reviews/03/24/my.spy.review/index.html]

For the Publishers Weekly, 6 Mar. 2000, reviewer, Kiyonaga's "unpretentious account ... elicits the reader's sympathy with its witty portrayal of a 'mixed' couple facing bigotry ... and its description of her lonely life as a mother of five, which unfolded on a need-to-know basis, with a tight-lipped husband always on guard.... The author's accounts of her husband's exploits is at times cavalier and occasionally insensitive."

Polgar, CIRA Newsletter, Fall 2000, finds this to be "a fascinating book which you will find difficult to put down." To Wiant, Studies 47.1, the author "makes a significant contribution to intelligence literature by sharing with us the awesome demands and extraordinary life of a case officer's wife living on the front lines of the Cold War." Vernon Loeb in his online column, "IntelligenCIA: The Spy's Wife," 24 Jul. 2000, carries a story about Mrs. Kiyonaga's book and her life with her husband.

Krall, Yung. A Thousand Tears Falling: The True Story of a Vietnamese Family Torn Apart by War, Communism, and the CIA. Marietta, GA: Longstreet Press, 1995.

Surveillant 4.4/5 identifies Yung Krall as the daughter of an NFLSV official and a spy for the CIA, who also worked with the FBI for which she helped break up the Humphrey-Huong spy ring.

Lansdale, Edward Geary. In the Midst of Wars: An American's Mission to Southeast Asia. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. [Reprint] New York: Fordham University Press, 1991.

According to Surveillant 2.1, Lansdale "recounts his missions with CIA in the Philippines and, later, in Vietnam during the 1950s and 1960s." For biographies of Lansdale, see Cecil B. Currey, Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988); and Jonathan Nashel, Edward Lansdale's Cold War (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005).

Lilley, James, with Jeffrey Lilley. China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage, and Diplomacy in Asia. New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

James R. Lilley died at the age of 81 on 12 November 2009. See John Pomfret, " U.S. Ambassador to China Served during Crackdown at Tiananmen Square," Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2009.

Nathan, Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2004, notes that "James Lilley served on the operations side of the CIA, working on China, from 1951-74. He then switched to analysis and diplomacy, serving as U.S. representative in Taipei in 1982-84 and ambassador in Beijing in 1989-91, among other posts."

To Peake, Studies 48.4 (2004), James Lilley's life is "a moving, exciting, and informative adventure." The book "is a pleasure to read and a valuable contribution to the literature of intelligence." For Pye, FA 83.3 (May-Jun. 2004), the author provides "the inside story of U.S. policymaking in a keen, clear-eyed manner." Rawnsley, I&NS 20.3 (Sep. 2005), comments that the author provides "a gripping description of American covert operations in Asia" and "a fascinating vista from which to view the evolution of America's China policy."

Halloran, Parameters 34.4 (Winter 2004-2005), finds that the author "strolls down memory lane in an account of his childhood in China.... He ranges over his education at Yale and his intelligence work in Japan, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, although without telling much about operations there." And he "recounts his close affiliation with George Bush the Elder." However, "[t]he cohesive thread woven through this well-written memoir ... is Lilley's association with China."

Lunt, Lawrence K. Leave Me My Spirit. Encampment, WY: Affiliated Writers of America, 1990.

Petersen: "Purported first-hand account of a U.S.-spy in Cuba captured by Castro."

Luria, Carlos D. Skating on the Edge: A Memoir and Journey through a Metamorphosis of the CIA. Salem, NC: BooksurgePublishing, 2006.

Peake, Studies 51.4 (2007), comments that "[i]n this short but well written memoir, retired CIA officer Carlos Luria acquaints the reader with his early life in prewar Germany, his wartime experiences at school in England, his emigration to the United States, and his 'sailing years after retirement [in 1980]. In between, we learn of his career in the CIA.... Sprinkled among his stories are comments on TSD's [Technical Services Division, predecessor of the Office of Technical Service] technical and tradecraft advancements."

Lynch, Christopher. The C.I. Desk: FBI and CIA Counterintelligence As Seen from My Cubicle. Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing, 2009.

According to Peake, Studies 55.2 (Jun. 2011), the author spent 10 years with the FBI and 20 with the CIA, all the while moving from job to job. "It is difficult to pin down the message he wants to convey in this book or to explain his candor in conveying it."

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