From Publishers Weekly
Career spy, Watergate conspirator and prolific suspense novelist Hunt (Guilty Knowledge
) collaborated with journalist Aunapu (Without a Trace
) on this breezy, unrepentant memoir. Hunt (who died recently at 88) recalls the highlights of a long career, from WWII service with the fabled Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—predecessor of the CIA—to a career with the agency itself and a stint as a consultant to the Nixon White House. As a White House operative, Hunt specialized in dirty tricks and break-ins—including the Democratic National Committee's headquarters—and served 33 months in federal prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. He claims to have been a magnet for women, especially models, and shamelessly drops the names of the rich and powerful. He also played a key role in the disastrous Bay of Pigs operation. As for his role in Watergate, he blames his "bulldog loyalty" and concedes only that he and his fellow conspirators did "the wrong things for the right reasons." In a postscript, Hunt urges reforming the beleaguered CIA in the image of the wartime OSS and its "daring amateurs." Hunt's nostalgic memoir breaks scant new ground in an already crowded field. (Apr.)
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Longtime CIA propagandist, spy novelist, and convicted Watergate burglar Hunt first told his dramatic story in Undercover: Memoirs of a Secret Agent
(1975) while the scandal was raw, legal fees were mounting, and innuendoes about Hunt's possible involvement in the Kennedy assassination had yet to surface. With this book, Hunt updates his autobiography to remind readers of his storied career in the intelligence services, shoot down a few conspiracy theories, and occasionally show a hint of guarded remorse. Hunt begins by describing his adventures in East Asia and cold war Central America; readers could be forgiven for confusing Hunt with one of his fictional protagonists. After Hunt's long and candid account of his role in Watergate, however, it becomes clear that Hunt's early exploits are presented in part because they make his role in Watergate seem like just another covert-ops mission. Thirty years later, Hunt's regret for his involvement is steeped in the language of patriotic addiction--he did what he did because he had been habituated to breaking the law in the service of his country--yet blurred with animosity toward both the judge who sentenced him and the Nixon administration, which failed to cover for him. This ambiguous confession of guilt is Hunt's final public comment on the matter: he died in January 2007, shortly after completing this book. Brendan DriscollCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved