About that CIA Wall: The Book of Honor by Ted Gup

About that CIA Wall: The Book of Honor by Ted Gup

The Wall of Honor is a real thing.

He Who Shall Not Be Named visited that sacred space yesterday afternoon — we don't need to cover that here. That said, the visit and its tone resulted in some pushback about what was said and where it was said from.

If you're an inquiring mind, you might want to learn more about the Wall. And I've got a really good book for just that inquiry.

The Book of Honor, by Ted Gup, is a history into some of the anonymous stars that grace the memorial at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. I read it years ago and honestly, I can't even remember what drew me to it — maybe a thirst for some nonfiction. But a couple of things stuck with me long after the individual names of those profiled escaped memory.

One was a writer's intense research and reporting to learn the truth. Gup was a reporter for Time when he first encountered the Wall in the early 90s, and he was struck by the fact that while similar memorials at the DEA, FBI and State Department identify the fallen, this one did not. Because, spies. Gup's inquiries were not always welcome and what he uncovered is not necessarily pleasant. But it is all fascinating.

Secondly were the stories of those lives. Gup's research not only delves into what exactly happened to those fallen, but the drive and the psyche behind the person willing to go undercover in the name of the U.S. government. And the anguish of the families left behind, forced to grieve in half-truths. For me, this book was far more intriguing and satisfying ... and sadder ... than a Jack Reacher or Jack Ryan installment.

Do yourself a favor and put down the fiction for an afternoon. Instead, learn more about Doug Mackiernan. Hugh Redmond. Pete Ray. John Merriman. Mike Maloney. Dennis Gabriel. Matthew Gannon. And many more. The perspective gained is well worth the investment.

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