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Laughter in the Shadows: A CIA Memoir

Overview

These are the memoirs of a CIA officer's career from 1953 to 1979. This autobiography of a CIA officer tries to capture the spirit of the early years of the Agency, a period sometimes described as its "finest hours." The book opens describing the author's training in the "clandestine arts and subsequent assignment to Asia. In Bushido he is involved in a number of operations including one taking him under the ocean. Following two tours in Bushido where he has gained his case officer's "brevet", he is sent to Cham ...

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Laughter in the Shadows: A CIA Memoir

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Overview

These are the memoirs of a CIA officer's career from 1953 to 1979. This autobiography of a CIA officer tries to capture the spirit of the early years of the Agency, a period sometimes described as its "finest hours." The book opens describing the author's training in the "clandestine arts and subsequent assignment to Asia. In Bushido he is involved in a number of operations including one taking him under the ocean. Following two tours in Bushido where he has gained his case officer's "brevet", he is sent to Cham in Southeast Asia. In Cham he is assigned to a "nation building" program which gets off to a good start but is abruptly terminated due to a neutralist coup d'etat and ensuing civil war. Prior to the coup however, on his own initiative the author contacted a tribal leader in the mountains of north Cham. He gained his confidence by parachuting badly needed supplies to his village in the mountains. This same tribal leader, a young captain in the Cham army, would later lead the largest clandestine army in the Agency's history. Following the coup d'etat, "St. Martin" (as the author became known), is evacuated with his family to Bangkok, the first of several evacuations during his career. The author is then sent to establish a a Base in northern Cham where he develops a wide variety of unconventional operations including one to defend a beleaguered outpost with a recoilless rifle.He is then sent to South Vietnam where another insurgency is budding. His family is again evacuated when the President decides to "clear the decks", but the author remains in South Vietnam's operating in the mountain and delta provinces. After four years in Vietnam, he is granted a sabbatical to the MITSchool of International Studies. After his sabbatical, he returns to southeast Asia as Deputy Station Chief. His primary operational target in Samudra is the large Soviet mission. Towards the end of his second tour, the author concentrates on trying to recruit a Soviet Air Force colonel. His final assignment is as Station Chief in Central Africa. Shortly after his arrival, the Station becomes center stage in another large paramilitary operation called "The Last Covert Action." The "covert action" soon bursts into the open with the intervention of Soviet NIGs and SAM missiles as well as ten thousand Cuban "volunteers." The "last covert action" is then abruptly terminated by a Congressional Resolution and the Station returns to normal. Following his tour in Africa, the author returns to Headquarters and retires.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591145172
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Stuart Methven, a graduate of Amherst with a master's degree from MIT, was a career officer in the CIA from 1952 to 1978. Later he owned and edited a weekly newspaper in West Virginia, consulted for the Hudson Institute, and served as assistant to the president of the Center for Naval Analyses. He currently lives in Brussels, Belgium.
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