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Cron was a boy in search of a father. His own dad, handsome, charming, and mysterious, spent Cron's youth slipping into alcoholism and depression. His family slid with him: Within a few years, the huge house in a stylish London neighborhood and the embassy cocktail receptions had been replaced by a crowded Connecticut apartment and the unabashed embarrassment of poverty. Lonely, unathletic, peppering his speech with snobbish-sounding British terms, Cron was an easy target at school. And then at his first communion, Cron "fell into God." In a blizzard on the Great Plains, he notes, farmers would sometimes tie one end of a rope around their waist and the other to the farmhouse so they could find their way home in a whiteout. By pressing his thumb against Cron's cheek, a bishop ties an invisible rope around Cron's waist. Subtle threads of everyday grace become visible to him: a perfect fawn that arrived after a terrible humiliation, cast-off road flares that led to a sense of belonging and joy, salvation in the form of a radio talk-show host.
But the scars inflicted by a secretive, alcoholic father are not so easily overcome. Cron would stretch that rope nearly to breaking many times. In prose as spare as it is touching and honest, he recounts his own descent into alcoholism and the hard road back. Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is a heartwarming exercise in emotional anthropology—digging up the bones of a lost childhood, fleshing them out, and embracing the imperfect picture they present.