A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family

Paperback
In scenes eerily parallel to the culture of fear inspired by our current War on Terror, A Need to Know explores the clandestine history of a CIA family defined, and ultimately destroyed, by their oath to keep toxic secrets during the Cold War. When Bud Goodall's father mysteriously died, his inheritance consisted of three well-worn books: a Holy Bible, The Great Gatsby, and a diary. But they turned his life upside down. From the diary Goodall learned that his father had been a CIA operative during the height of the Cold War, and the Bible and Gatsby had been his codebooks. Many unexplained facets of Bud's childhood came into focus with this revelation.The high living in Rome and London. The blood-stained stiletto in his jewelry case. Bud, as a child, was always told he never had a need to know. Or did he? Now, as an adult and a university professor, Goodall attempts to fill in the missing pieces of his Cold War childhood by uncovering a lifetime of family secrets. Who were his parents? What did his father do on those business trips when he was working for the government? What betrayal turned a heroic career of national service into a nightmare of alcoholism, depression, and premature death for both of his parents? Slowly, inexorably, Goodall unearths the chilling secrets of a CIA family in A Need to Know. 2006 Best Book Award, National Communication Association Ethnography Division