Re: RARA-AVIS: Kennedy and the mob

From: Richard Moore (
Date: 06 Dec 2007

--- In, John Williams <johnwilliams@...> wrote:
> My favourite Kennedy conspiracy is that contained in Charles
> wonderful espionage noir The Tears of Autumn. Very simply - and
> isn't a spoiler in any meaningful sense of the word - the
Vietnamese did
> it. There's a good, long piece about McCarry and the book here -
> John

I agree with your high praise for THE TEARS OF AUTUMN by one of my favorite writers Charles McCarry. And thanks for the link to the excellent LA Weekly article. It quoted a line from TEARS where the protagonist Paul Christopher and his boss in the CIA are discussing some in the Kennedy White House who think they can "…do anything they like, to anyone in the world, and there'll be no consequences." Christopher tells his boss "But there always are."

"You know that," Patchen said. "For those who never smell the corpse, there's no way of knowing."

This is not a partisan remark as it is recognition of a political phenomenon common to new White House occupants and top staff. McCarry spent many years in Washington in and out of government and knows it well. While I am sure there are others I have yet to read, McCarry, Ross Thomas and Ward Just are three novelists who write believably about the various power centers in Washington. Pelecanos writes well about the Washington streets and neighborhoods but that's another world.

One factual error, or at least a misleading statement, is in the article. It states that McCarry was "…a speechwriter for President Eisenhower…" McCarry was a speechwriter for Secretary of Labor James P. Mitchell from 1956-1957. So it would be accurate to say he was a speechwriter in the Eisenhower Administration, but wrong to imply he was in the West Wing or next door at EOB churning out speeches for Ike.

I heard McCarry speak once at function at the Smithsonian and he discussed his recruitment to the CIA by Allen Dulles at his farewell lunch with Secretary Mitchell.

Richard Moore

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