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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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