A Family of Spies

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based on family papers, wiretapped conversations, trial transcripts and interviews with the principals, this is the most comprehensive look we are likely to get at the inception and operation of what has been called the most damaging spy ring in America's history. The book is riveting on several levels: John Walker's uncanny ability to talk three people into betraying their country (his brother Arthur, son Michael and best friend Jerry Whitworth, all of whom, along with ringleader Walker, are now serving life sentences); the appalling ease with which top-secret documents were copied and passed along to the Soviets over a period of 17 years; Whitworth's withdrawal from the organization, his abortive attempt to blow the whistle and his subsequent effort to rejoin it; Barbara Walker's struggle to convince the FBI to believe her charges against her ex-husband; and John Walker's grotesque rationalizations and self-justification in his interviews with Earley. The Washington Post Magazine reporter has constructed a masterful psychological portrait of a man seemingly without a soul. A Family of Spies is a classic of the genre. Photos. First serial to the Washington Post; CBS-TV miniseries. (Nov.)
Library Journal
``Of all the spies in America,'' said John Walker's KGB handler, ``you, John, are the best!'' In this journalistic account Earley (a former Washington Post staff writer) examines up close the evolution and self-destruction of this damaging collection of banal traitors. The story is sprinkled with tales of dead drops and top secret lists and packed with profanities. What Earley lacks in analysis, he makes up for in storytelling. Based on interviews with Walker, his family, and Jerry Whitworth (another key conspirator), and trial transcripts, this engrossing book compares favorably with Howard Blum's I Pledge Allegiance: The True Story of the Walker's (LJ 11/1/87) in discussing the psychological impact of the case. Recommended for general readers.John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553052831
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1988
  • Pages: 400

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