For Lust of Knowing
Memoirs of an Intelligence Officer
Little, Brown and Company
Archibald Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, rose through the ranks of the American intelligence services to become one of the most prominent personalities in the Central Intelligence Agency. His important and exciting memoirs, in themselves a revealing personal odyssey, shed new light on the CIA and its critical operations in the time since World War II, particularly during the crucial years of the Cold War.
Fascinated as a young man by the Middle East, its peoples, its culture, and its languages, Roosevelt embarked on a lifelong quest for truth on the highways and byways of a journey toward a mythical Samarkand. The first leg of this voyage was with Operation Torch, which landed in North Africa in 1942, and as a military intelligence officer he worked his way through North Africa, Egypt, and the Levant, ending his army career as assistant military attache successively in Iraq and Iran.
Joining the CIA, he saw it evolve from a small band of pioneer field officers to a powerful organization. Roosevelt’s career spanned the beginning of our confrontations with the Soviets in Iran and Turkey through decades of crises since, at which he was often a firsthand witness, as at the Berlin Wall. He also did a stint at the Voice of America, where he established the programs to the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, and his words, at least, reached Samarkand.
But above all, Archie Roosevelt’s vivid memoirs reflect the personalities and drama of his experience in the field. For more than three decades his work brought him together with such world leaders and influential individuals as General George Patton, the Shah of Iran, David Ben-Gurion, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, John Foster Dulles, and the succession of CIA directors and their British counterparts. Arguing that intelligence fieldwork provides the necessary context for policymakers’ interpretation of major developments around the world, Roosevelt brings his particular insight to bear on such events as the Tehran Conference of 1943, which was the precursor to Yalta; the Azerbaijan crisis in Iran; the origins of the Cold War; the Cuban missile crisis; and the rising tide of nationalism and Soviet empire building in the Middle East. In the final section of the book, Roosevelt critically analyzes the CIA’s role in international events and crises, its recent controversial history, and its future direction.
Archie Roosevelt is a natural raconteur with a keen eye for social and political detail, whether observing the frictions between his own, Republican branch of the Roosevelt clan and their Democratic cousins in the White House, the arrival of the first Soviet agent in Baghdad, or the remote cultures of the Kurdish tribesmen and the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. His is a new and informed perspective on some of the significant political and historical events of modern times.
Since retiring from the CIA in 1974, Archie Roosevelt has been director of International Relations for the Chase Manhattan Bank. His wife, Selwa, formerly a journalist and editor, is chief of protocol of the United States. When not serving abroad, since the early 1950s the Roosevelts have been active participants in the Washington and international scene.