A compelling, immersive memoir of crime, punishment, and the redemptive qualities of love and atonement.

American Sons


A cathartic memoir retracing the lives of the real men behind The Falcon and the Snowman espionage chronicle and the 1985 movie it inspired.

A trio of authors contributes to this historical narrative, which charts the later lives of falconer Christopher Boyce and his boyhood friend Andrew Daulton Lee, both of whom were convicted of delivering classified government documents to the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s. In the introduction, co-author Boyce, “far older than my sixty years,” offers his own first-person version of the events, including his treachery and “self-destructive descent into hell” after working at the National Security Agency and learning of duplicitous governmental actions against an international ally. He then explains how he was caught and sentenced to 40 years in prison (Lee received a life sentence). As compelling as this intimate opening treatment is, the remainder of the book is curiously dictated from the alternating perspectives of both Christopher and Cait Boyce beginning in 2005 and, via a meandering timeline, culminates with a where-are-they-now epilogue and a generous photo gallery. In vivid chapters brimming with immediate, unfettered narration, Boyce and wife Cait share the stories of their lives pre- and post-conviction. Readers learn the fascinating, intricately plotted details of Boyce’s daring escape from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary in 1980, his intention to fly in and break Lee out by helicopter, his recapture, and the horrifically violent and dehumanizing prison conditions he endured while locked away in a “concrete womb.” Boyce also interjects passionate testimony from his days as a security communications engineer as well as the reasons he betrayed the nation. His prison release in 2002 was orchestrated with Cait’s determined efforts, even though she initially only set out to achieve parole for Lee. Cait ended up triumphantly freeing both men and falling in love with Boyce as well, despite her devastating cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Fans of true crime will be riveted by the ultimate destinies of both men, though Lee’s journey isn’t afforded the same scrutiny as Boyce’s.

A compelling, immersive memoir of crime, punishment, and the redemptive qualities of love and atonement.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9915342-1-0

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Vince Font, LLC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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