An Intriguing Life

An Intriguing Life

A Memoir of War, Washington, and Marriage to An American Spymaster

Book - 2013
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From wartime England to Nixon's America and beyond, Cynthia Helms was witness to some of the seminal events of our time--Vietnam, Watergate, and especially the demoralization of the CIA in the 1970s for political purposes. Opening with her feminist "epiphany" in 1968 (the annus horribilus as she describes it) that led her to end her first marriage of 24 years, this memoir reveals a world where appearances always had to be questioned, where rumors and gossip carried the weight of intrigue. Helms grew up on a farm in Maldon, England and served as one of the original Boat Crew Wrens during World War II. She came to the United States after the war with her first husband, a physician. Her later marriage to Richard Helms introduced her to a world previously known only to her in books, not just the physical world from Mexico to Fiji to Iran, but also the world of a spymaster who enjoyed the confidence of some of the most important leaders of the late twentieth century. Her time as the ambassador's wife in Tehran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution is especially telling, as she witnesses the charming but deeply flawed Shah slowly lose his way with his own people. Her "inside the beltway" observations are no less captivating, especially when her husband was being vilified by ambitious congressmen for events that happened long ago and far away and in a completely different national security context. Fascinating and highly readable, An Intriguing Life is a window to our most recent history.
Publisher: Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., [2013]
ISBN: 9781442221314
Branch Call Number: B/HELMS
Characteristics: vii, 199 pages, 16 unnumbered pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Black, Christine M.


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Mar 22, 2013

Regardless of whether someof the intrigues may be the fantasies of the author l felt , as a person who lived in the World War 11 age, it was a very readable book and brought back many memories of that time.

Mar 04, 2013

Anyone interested in a female view of World War II and of politics in the US government should read this book. Cynthia Helms was personally acquainted with or met people in the medical profession, foreign rulers, from the social register and Washington insiders. Great read.

Feb 05, 2013

". . . especially when her husband was being vilified . . ." Ummm...that would be the same Richard Helms who had an accident outside of Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium in Rockville, MD, where he claimed he was seeing a psychoanalyst, when in reality he was shredding files on the MK ULTRA project which were located there, as the CIA's MK ULTRA program had its very own wing at that sanitarium for various human experimentation. (One among many experiments was memory erasure, and if you should read Gerard Colby's amazing book "Thy Will Be Done" you'll understand who one of their unfortunate successful victims was.) This would be the same Richard Helms who initiated the MK ULTRA program, petitioning then CIA Director Dulles for the power to do so back around 1950 or '51. Helms shredded all the important files when they were subpoenaed by congress, part of the reason he was officially cited in contempt of congress and sent packing from the CIA. Helms' number two guy in his program was psycho guy, Sidney Gottlieb, and his program was responsible for the devising of many deadly weapons and psychotropic poisons, said substances appearing in the deaths of Frank Wisner, Sr., journalists Dorothy Kilgallen and Larry Stern (Washington Post). This book receives an extreme negative rating for fictional content represented as fact.


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