MY LIFE AS A SPY by John A.  Walker Jr.


One of America’s Most Notorious Spies Finally Tells His Story
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Straight from the federal pen, an unrepentant traitor’s mea culpa.

Busted for spying for the Soviet Union 23 years ago, Walker claims that, because his “children deserved an explanation of my activities,” he wrote a memoir that swelled to nearly 600 pages. When his attorney lost it, he says, he started over; thus this book, which is plainly more than a decade old, since he writes of “recent” trips by Bill Clinton on various diplomatic missions. If there is news here, it is largely of a kind we have heard before, thanks to such vehicles as The Falcon and the Snowman: Minor player sells out his country for modestly ideological reasons, in this case putatively having to do with disgust over the waste of resources and effort over a cooked-up Cold War; gets used to the cash and other payoffs of treason; recruits a dim bulb or two in the moral equivalent of a Ponzi scheme; and finally gets caught. Walker protests that the technological secrets he delivered to the Soviets proved that the Cold War was a sham, allowing Gorbachev to put an end to it. To gauge by this ineptly written book, though, Walker is no rocket scientist, which makes one wonder why the Soviets bothered with him. The Soviets seem to have wondered the same thing, having slated Walker for special handling following one too many foul-ups on the part of his psychotic ex-wife and other members of his loose circle. One matter of true interest comes when Walker describes old classified documents that he handled detailing orders for the American D-Day landings of World War II, which Bill Clinton ordered declassified and then rescinded that directive. Was it, as Walker says, because the documents showed “a serious blunder of not following the invasion plan, perhaps landing our troops in the wrong place due to sheer incompetence”?

For Cold War completists only. One hopes that Walker will not profit from this defiant scribble.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59102-659-4
Page count: 350pp
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2008


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