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An Intriguing Life: A Memoir of War, Washington, and Marriage to an American Spymaster

Helms Cynthia

17 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1442221313 / ISBN 13: 9781442221314
Published by Rowman & Littlefield, NY, 2013
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Dorley House Books, Inc. (Clear Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: An Intriguing Life: A Memoir of War, ...

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, NY

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed and Inscribed By Author

Edition: 1st.

About this title


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.

About the Author:

Cynthia Ratcliff Helms is the widow of Richard M. Helms, the director of intelligence for the United States. They were married for 34 years. She 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. Throughout her life, she has been involved in many civic and charitable causes. She was a founder of Concern Inc., a ground breaking environmental organization aimed at women, and served on the board of the World Resources Institute for 15 years. She serves as an Honorary Trustee of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Museum and the Fund for the U.S. Botanical Gardens; and serves on the boards of the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowships and the Iraq Women’s Fellowship Foundation. She is the author of An Ambassador’s Wife in Iran (1981 Dodd, Mead & Co.) and Favourite Stories from Persia (1982 Heinemann Education Books. Visit her website here.
Chris Black is a writer and communications consultant. She was a political reporter for more than 30 years and worked at the Boston Globe and as a White House and Congressional Correspondent for Cable Network News (CNN).

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