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American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond Hardcover – February 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0471789826 ISBN-10: 0471789828 Edition: 1st

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American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond + Bond of Secrecy: My Life with CIA Spy and Watergate Conspirator E. Howard Hunt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471789828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471789826
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Lies won't cut it.
Herbert L Calhoun
The problem for the reader of this book is that he took the answers to those questions to the grave.
Terry Heath
This is a very good and easy to read book!
Paul Manfredi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By G. Pascal on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There was a real snotty review of this book by the NY Times( the bastion of limosine liberalism and Oswald did it alone BS) But, anyone interested in Watergate or the JFK Assassination should read it- the reviewer doesn't have a clue more than the man in the street what Howard hunt, knew and he had a long association with the Assassination losing a lawsuit where he was 11-22-63 as shown in Mark Lane's Plausible denial. I'm not saying Hunt didn't embellish, or possibly deflate his own role,maybe threw in a couple bogus names, but the names he picks-the key ones: William Harvey, David Morales, and David Phillps all have several suspicious things about them in this regard, were all heavy drinkers and hated The Kennedys with a purple passion. There is nothing far fetched about their alleged of the big reasons the conspiracy worked is no one in the Wash press corps could fathom it...& whatever Hoover said, or spokesman for Govt. Agencies was accepted without question in that day, thus denying a mountain of germane contrary evidence. As far as watergate- very interesting and it was horrible his wife died in the plane crash, and Hunt got 35 years from Judge Sirica!What they did was illegal, but nothing compared to what the current Administration is doing and though Hunt is hardly a shining knight, you can really see things through his eyes and his observations on notable people are just priceless and often I believe highly accurate ..In a sea of evil pathological liars that were much higher up the food chain-Hoover,Nixon, Helms, Angeton,& LBJ Hunt wasn't the epitome of malevolance as he was portrayed in the Establishment..there were people far worse...
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By john l. on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I figured E. Howard Hunt would be a relatively interesting guy: real life spy, Watergate conspirator, author of dozens of espionage novels. All the derring-do is in this book and it's fun reading --underground in China, plotting the Bay of Pigs, being on the other end of the walkie-talkie as the Watergate "plumbers" break in and get caught. (Getting the inside story of that night from Hunt is fascinating.) But if you read between the lines in this fast-paced bio you also get an insight into a certain kind of twisted, ultra conservative patriotism. The self deception and duplicity are breathtaking and will remind you of some people in the headlines today -- except Hunt is surely a much better storyteller. He's a trip.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Military history buff on March 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is another of those books that shows what certains segments of the government and the power elite have been and continue to be willing to do to make sure that they keep power. You must also read The Plot to Seize the White House about the first and only American attempt at a military coup in the United States. Both these books will shock you awake as far as how this country really operates. And remember--we only read about the plots that didn't succeed. The others we'll never know about.d
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This version is as disappointing as the earlier withdrawn version, which was withdrawn from publication because of the proven lies and dishonesty it contained, most of which was proven to be lies through court records.

No one should be surprised that E. Howard Hunt, master spy, OSS agent and soldier of fortune, WW-II vet, Bay of Pigs "line manager," rogue dirty tricks handyman, Watergate Plumber, burglar and break-in artist, Presidential blackmailer, spy novelist, CIA paymaster for the JFK conspiracy, and Secretary of State of our "Shadow Government," would be unwilling to tell the truth about his exploits. What a pity though, since E. Howard Hunt had so much to tell us and presided over such an interesting if not a definitive part of U.S. history. Now apparently that job must be left to the renegade published tract (to be found on the web) produced by his son St. John Hunt, called "Bond of Secrecy."

Rather amazingly, "Bond of Secrecy" covers all of the same ground that this book covers but with an entirely different twist and with entirely different conclusions: Unlike in the current book, where the JFK assassination is conveniently overlooked altogether, in Bond of Secrecy, Hunt actually admits being on the periphery of the JFK assassination, as LBJ, Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, Antonia Vinciano -- with Lucien Sarti and Lee Harvey Oswald - as the shooters, carrying out the JFK Assassination.

And while this book depicts E. Howard Hunt as a superstar of the "shadow world;" Bond of Secrecy reveals him to be a lot less: as a bitter man who goes down with a sinking immoral ship.

In his son's book, but not in this one, E.
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34 of 45 people found the following review helpful By anarchteacher on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
E. Howard Hunt, celebrated spy for the CIA, was primarily known for his role in the Watergate Scandal responsible for the downfall of Richard Nixon. Hunt died just prior to the publication of this memoir.

It was hoped that this volume would be more revealing, that Hunt would finally come clean on many aspects of his life that have been shielded in mystery. Many reviewers have alluded to dark secrets relating to the JFK assassination, in this regard.

But I was looking for something very different, the full truth of his long-time relationship to Conservative journalist William F. Buckley Jr., who wrote the forward for this book, and who served as godfather to three of Hunt's children.

Hunt had served as an intelligence operative in the OSS (the forerunner to the CIA) during WWII. Buckley was a student at Yale (Skull and Bones 1950) where he served as shill and informant for J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. One of Buckley's Yale professors, former Trotskyist Willmoore Kendall (formerly of the OSS and later consultant to the CIA) was a recruiter of talent for the newly created Agency.

Kendall recruited Buckley in 1951. Kendall introduced him to former Trotskyist James Burnham (also formerly of the OSS). Burnham was consultant to the CIA's Office of Policy Coordination, the CIA's covert action division, actively working on the coup d'etat against Mossadegh in Iran.

Burnham first introduced Buckley to E. Howard Hunt in his Washington, D. C. apartment (page 48). Buckley then served with Hunt, as he further describes in this volume, in Mexico where Hunt was chief of station and Buckley's control officer.
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