My Spy: Memoir of a Cia Wife

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9780380975877: My Spy: Memoir of a Cia Wife
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Our story spans fifty years, four continents, three wars, a revolution, five children, two races and one faith. It is the story of an often stormy, sometimes blissful, but never dull marriage. It lasted thirty years - and then death did the parting.

So begins the love story of Joe Kiyonaga, the striking Japanese-American war hero from Hawaii, and Bina Cady, the irreverent Irish-Catholic redhead from Baltimore. Similar in their convictions, different in most every other respect, the two leaped into a marriage in 1947 that defied the anti-Japanese sentiments of the day. Their unlikely union would come to include a powerful, top-secret cohort: the CIA.

During the darkest days of the Cold War, Bina, as a CIA wife, was initiated into a world of silence. She would learn not to ask who had called at 2:00 A.M., where Joe had disappeared to for days at a time, or why a notorious dictator had shown up at their door unannounced. Joe's "cover' had to be maintained, and no one could be trusted with the truth. Bina would learn to live a lie and lie bravely.

From the surreal intrigue of post-war Japan to the raucous mariachi-band parties of 1960s El Salvador and the "Yankee Go Home" Panama of the 1970s to the planning of a coup d'etat in Brazil, Bina would become Joe's unwitting partner, playing the traditional role of wife and mother for the most untraditional of ends: helping Joe recruit agents. Everything from cocktail parties to the children's swim meets would become possible venues for agent recruitment, every casual acquaintance-even the parish priest-a potential intelligence source. Through Joe's work, Bina was introduced to foreign leaders, military strongmen and influential journalists secretly working with Washington-a cast of like-minded souls who believed, as did Joe and Bina, that the CIA's cause was noble and that its methods served a greater good.

In the end, Bina's story is the story of the spy she loved. Born out in the cold, on an island where being too tall and too western-looking made him a rumor incarnate, Joe Kiyonaga was all the more remarkable for what he became, and overcame. A man with a foothold in many worlds, but at home in none, he was ready to kick over the traces and re-invent himself as the consummate spy.

Only after thirty years, as Joe lay dying, did Bina finally meet the husband she never knew, and hear the full details of the secret life and global cause of which she and their five children had been a part.

This is the story that Joe entrusted to Bina, a story she promised him she would tell. A story of a time to remember, and of a marriage forged by trust and faith in a world full of lies.

Our story spans fifty years, four continents, three wars, a revolution, five children, two races and one faith. It is the story of an often stormy, sometimes blissful, but never dull marriage. It lasted thirty years---and then death did the parting.

So begins the love story of Joe Kiyonaga, the striking Japanese-American war hero from Hawaii, and Bina Cady, the irreverent Irish-Catholic redhead from Baltimore. Similar in their convictions, different in most every other respect, the two leaped into a marriage in 1947 that defied the anti-Japanese sentiments of the day. Their unlikely union would come to include a powerful, top-secret cohort: the CIA.

During the darkest days of the Cold War, Bina, as a CIA wife, was initiated into a world of silence. She would learn not to ask who had called a 2:00 A.M., where Joe had disappeared to for days at a time, or why a notorious dictator had shown up at their door unannounced. Joe's "cover" had to be maintained, and no one could be trusted with the truth. Bina would learn to live a lie and lie bravely.

From the surreal intrigue of post-war Japan to the raucous mariachi-band parties of 1960s El Salvador and the "Yankee Go Home" Panama of the 1970s to the planning of a coup d'etat in Brazil, Bina would become Joe's unwitting partner, playing the traditional role of wife and mother for the most untraditional of ends: helping Joe recruit agents. Everything from cocktail parties to the children's swim meets would become possible venues for agent recruitment; every casual acquaintance---even the parish priest---a potential intelligence source. Through Joe's work, Bina was introduced to foreign leaders, military strongmen and influential journalists secretly working with Washington---a cast of like-minded souls who believed, as did Joe and Bina, that the CIA's cause was noble and that its methods served a greater good.

In the end, Bina's story is the story of the spy she loved.

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About the Author:

Bina Cady Kiyonaga has studied for her master's degree in philosophy and theology. She is the mother of five and grandmother of ten.  She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A CIA widows frank, often poignant account of her life and marriage. When in 1947 the author, an Irish-American from Baltimore, married WWII veteran Joe Kiyonaga, a Hawaiian of Japanese heritage, she knew she would experience the racial bigotry directed against him, but she didn't know she was beginning almost 30 years of marriage to a man who could never tell her what he was doing at work and who could disappear from home for days without an explanation. Bina Kiyonaga and her five children, through postings in Japan, Brazil, and El Salvador, constantly felt the stress of Joes job. Though she knew Joe was in the CIA, Bina could never ask him for specifics and often had to take mysterious phone calls from double agents and junta leaders. On his deathbed, Joe asked Bina to write this memoir of his career and finally told her the details of his secret work. Still, this is mostly Bina's story. Peppering her account with jarring observations, the author drolly sketches her family life and adventures abroad, inserting the occasional anecdote about spies. Disparaging her moody, withdrawn husband and her sometimes strained marriage (she depicts him as ``unfeeling and critical,'' and describes a casual tennis partner as ``probably the sort of man I should have married''), she was nonetheless devoted to Joe and proud of his achievements. In what seems like an odd omission, however, she never provides any defense of his apparently far-reaching and perhaps questionable covert operations, even when she attributes to her husbands activities the creation of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, which ruled Japan for 38 years, and a Brazilian coup that led to a 29-year dictatorship. A salutary reminder of the terrible personal toll paid by unlikely innocents in the secret war against communism. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780380794973: My Spy: Memoir of a CIA Wife

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ISBN 10:  0380794977 ISBN 13:  9780380794973
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2001
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9780756718763: My Spy: Memoir of a CIA Wife

Avon B..., 2000
Hardcover

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