Author(s): Scott Johnson
What happens when a father asks his son to lie for the greater good? Growing up, Scott Johnson always suspected that his dad was somehow different. Only as a teenager did he discover the truth: his father was a spy. When Johnson later became a war correspondent, he returned to the countries of his youth — the dusty streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the cold urbanity of Yugoslavia, and elsewhere. Here, he came face to face with his father’s murky past. The Wolf and the Watchman is an account of Johnson’s life as the son of a CIA operative and his attempt to reconcile his past with his own moral imperatives as a journalist. The book chronicles Johnson’s confusing adolescence having to live with secrets and lies, and his lifelong confrontation with a series of difficult questions about the duties we owe to ourselves as well as to others. The Wolf and the Watchman is a provocative, meditative reckoning of how the choices of two men defined their own relationship to slippery and often uncomfortable ideas like truth, deception, and manipulation, and to the historic world events that shaped their times. It is also an intensely personal story of how a close bond between father and son endured when tested by one of the world’s most secretive and unforgiving institutions.
‘Scott Johnson has written a mesmerising book about a mysterious father, a son’s search for truth, and the hidden motives of hearts and souls. Part spy story and part love story, The Wolf and the Watchman is beautifully written, deeply moving, and compulsively readable.’ - David Finkel, author of THE GOOD SOLDIERS ‘With haunting imagery and admirable candor, Scott Johnson unfolds a coming-of-age story in the shadow of the CIA. This brave and memorable book provides a rare glimpse at the private life of a spy and digs into the love, lies, and ambiguities between father and son.’ - Megan Stack, author of EVERY MAN IN THIS VILLAGE IS A LIAR ‘Scott Johnson’s stunning memoir could be ripped from the pages of a John Le Carre novel … A fascinating and important book by one of the great American foreign correspondents of his generation.’ - Michael Hastings, NYT-bestselling author of THE OPERATORS ‘An aching, lyrical father–son story of the spy world … dark and intriguing.’ - Evan Thomas, bestselling author of SEA OF THUNDER and THE WAR LOVERS