RARA-AVIS: More on James Atlee Phillips

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 27 Sep 2000

First of all, thanks Bill for reminding me where I read extended comments by Chandler on Phillips. It was driving me batty because I couldn't remember where I had seen it. The original blurb used on the Gall books was from personal correspondence between Chandler and Phillips. It's covered in the Nevins interview. Crider may remember more details.

And, Juri, my "his" did refer to Phillips, as he wrote THE DEADLY MERMAIDS. It is better than average but not Phillips' best. I do not recall when he died and am far removed at present from normal references. I'm sure someone can supply that.

As for Charles McCarry, all that I have read by him has been at a very high level. Try his TEARS OF AUTUMN. He was a speech writer for the US Secretary of Labor in the mid-50s who resigned when he sold a story to the then well-paying Saturday Evening Post. The Secretary invited him to a going away lunch in his private dining room and introduced him to the other guest Allen Dulles, then head of the CIA. He ended up being both a writer and a deep-background type for the agency. He was for a long time senior writer for National Geographic and is considered a top ghost for political memoirs.

The story that always amused me was that his first book was a bio of Ralph Nader, written when McCarry was still with the CIA. Can you imagine how paranoid Nader must have gotten when he learned that little detail?

Richard Moore

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