Hunt, E. Howard 1918–
Hunt, E. Howard 1918–
(John Baxter, Gordon Davis, Robert Dietrich, P.S. Donoghue, Everette Howard Hunt, Jr., Howard Hunt, David St. John)
PERSONAL: Born October 9, 1918, in Hamburg, NY; son of Everette Howard and Ethel Jean Hunt; married Dorothy L. Wetzel, September 7, 1949 (died, 1972); married Laura E. Martin, 1977; children: (first marriage) Lisa Tiffany, Kevan Totterdale (daughter), Howard, David; (second marriage) Austin, Hollis. Education: Brown University, A.B., 1940.
ADDRESSES: Home—Miami Shores, FL.
CAREER: Writer, novelist, screenwriter, consultant, and political figure. Movie and documentary screenwriter and editor of March of Time, 1942–43; war correspondent for Life magazine, 1943; screenwriter, 1947–48; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), worked in various capacities in Paris, France, Tokyo, Japan, Montevideo, Uruguay, Vienna, Austria, Madrid, Spain, and Mexico City, Mexico, 1949–70; Department of State, Washington, DC, 1965–70; Robert R. Mullen & Co. (public relations firm), vice president and director, 1970–71; consultant to U.S. President Richard Nixon, 1971–72; writer and lecturer on national security. Guest on television programs, including Nightline, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, 20/20, Firing Line, and the Today Show. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1940–42. U.S. Army Air Force, 1943–46; became first lieutenant.
MEMBER: Army and Navy Club, Miami Shores Country Club.
AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim fellowship in creative writing, 1946–47.
(With Gret Aunapu and Eric Hamburg) American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2007.
Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent, Berkley (New York, NY), 1974.
The Hargrave Deception, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1980.
The Gaza Intercept, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1981.
Cozumel, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1985.
The Kremlin Conspiracy, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1985.
Guadalajara, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1987.
Murder in State, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.
Chinese Red, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Body Count, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Mazatlan, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY),1993.
Ixtapa, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1994.
Islamorada, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1995.
The Paris Edge, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Izmir, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1996.
Dragon Teeth: A Novel, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1997.
Guilty Knowledge, Forge (New York, NY), 1999.
Sonora, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.
NOVELS; UNDER NAME HOWARD HUNT
East of Farewell, Knopf (New York, NY), 1942.
Limit of Darkness, Random House (New York, NY), 1944.
Stranger in Town, Random House (New York, NY), 1947.
Maelstrom, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1948.
Bimini Run, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1949.
Dark Encounter, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1950.
The Violent Ones, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1950.
The Judas Hour, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1951.
Whisper Her Name, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1952.
Lovers Are Losers, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1953.
Give Us This Day, Arlington House (New Rochelle, NY), 1973.
The Berlin Ending: A Novel of Discovery, Putnam (New York, NY), 1973.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM JOHN BAXTER
A Foreign Affair, Avon (New York, NY), 1954.
Unfaithful, Avon (New York, NY), 1955.
A Gift for Gomala, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1962.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM GORDON DAVIS
I Came to Kill, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1953.
House Dick, Fawcett, 1961, published under name E. Howard Hunt as Washington Payoff, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1975.
Counterfeit Kill, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1963, published under name E. Howard Hunt, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1975.
Where Murder Waits, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1965.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM ROBERT DIETRICH
One for the Road, Pyramid (New York, NY), 1954.
The Cheat, Pyramid (New York, NY), 1954.
Be My Victim, Dell (New York, NY), 1956.
Murder on the Rocks, Dell (New York, NY), 1957.
The House on Q Street, Dell (New York, NY), 1958.
End of a Stripper, Dell (New York, NY), 1959.
Mistress to Murder, Dell (New York, NY), 1960.
Murder on Her Mind, Dell (New York, NY), 1960.
Angel Eyes, Dell (New York, NY), 1961.
Calypso Caper, Dell (New York, NY), 1961.
Curtains for a Lover, Lancer (New York, NY), 1962.
My Body, Lancer (New York, NY), 1963.
Ring around Rosy, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1964.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM P.S. DONOGHUE
The Dublin Affair, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1988.
The Sankov Confession, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1992.
Evil Time, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1992.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM DAVID ST. JOHN
Return from Vorkuta, Signet (New York, NY), 1965.
Hazardous Duty, Muller (London, England), 1966, Signet (New York, NY), 1965.
The Towers of Silence, Signet (New York, NY), 1966.
Festival for Spies, Signet (New York, NY), 1966.
The Venus Probe, Signet (New York, NY), 1966.
The Mongol Mask, Weybright & Talley (New York, NY), 1968.
The Sorcerers, Weybright & Talley (New York, NY), 1969.
Diabolus, Weybright & Talley (New York, NY), 1971.
One of Our Agents Is Missing, Signet (New York, NY), 1972.
The Coven, Weybright & Talley (New York, NY), 1972.
(Under pseudonym John Baxter) Hollywood in the Thirties, A.S. Barnes (New York, NY), 1968.
The Gangster Film, A.S. Barnes (New York, NY), 1970.
Also author of play The Calculated Risk, c. 1948.
Contributor to political and foreign affairs journals.
SIDELIGHTS: The author of several dozen spy/adventure novels published throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, E. Howard Hunt achieved widespread notoriety during the early 1970s—for his role in the Watergate scandal rather than for his literary accomplishments. A former CIA officer with some twenty years' experience in conducting undercover work, Hunt was hired by the administration of President Richard Nixon in 1971 as a part-time "consultant." Working for G. Gordon Liddy, Hunt helped organize the break-in at the offices of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist—Ellsberg was suspected of leaking to the New York Times the classified information that was eventually published as The Pentagon Papers—and, somewhat later, the infamous bugging and burglary operation at Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office complex. For his part in the conspiracy, Hunt pleaded guilty and served three years in federal prison.
Drawing on his own experience as a CIA officer, as well as on his general knowledge of government operations, Hunt managed to write at least one novel a year while working for that agency during the 1950s and 1960s. Each manuscript had to be submitted to his superiors for approval before being sent to the publisher—and in many cases his works were published under one of several pseudonyms. Hunt received a certain amount of literary recognition as a result of Watergate; the regular appearance of his name in the news prompted a publisher to reprint several of his novels, leading to a reassessment of Hunt's work.
Hunt's experiences in the CIA provided the inspiration and material for a series character, CIA agent Peter Ward. Hunt writes himself into this character; both are Brown University alumni and are active in Washington social life. The series' credibility is bolstered by authentic terminology, spy techniques, and descriptions of location. The subjects in the series are wide-ranging. In The Venus Probe, Ward investigates the disappearance of seven scientists whose collective knowledge would enable a rocket to go to the moon. Marvin Lachman of Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers named Return from Vorkuta the best in the series. In this novel, Hunt combines Spanish and Russian history in a story of a possible Russian spy who has been imprisoned in Siberia since the Spanish Civil War. He is sent to Spain, where he claims the throne. As a result, the CIA becomes concerned about U.S. NATO bases in Spain.
Hunt created many other tough-guy heroes as well. In a series of novels that includes Mazatlan, Ixtapa, and Sonora, he relates the exploits of Jack Novak, an ex-DEA agent who keeps getting drawn back into drug-related intrigue, even though he has taken up a new life as a charter fisherman. Many reviewers note that Novak is cut from the same cloth as most thriller protagonists: quick to kill and always ready to service the many beautiful women who tumble into his bed. Discussing Sonora, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that anyone unfamiliar with Hunt's work might be surprised by "the violent, sexist and xenophobic tone of the enterprise." A Publishers Weekly contributor, reviewing Ixtapa, decried Novak as "monumentally dull, a larger-than-life cardboard hero whose convoluted escapades in various Mexican locales are unlikely to arouse, not to mention sustain, much interest," but yet another writer for that publication, reviewing Izmir, contended: "Like the old-time pulp writer he ultimately is, Hunt may not offer art, but he serves up something that can quicken a pulse."
Leaving memories of the Watergate era behind him, Hunt has continued to add to his long list of published spy novels. His 1981 novel, The Gaza Intercept, is the story of a radical Arab splinter group that plans to risk World War III by acquiring neutron bombs made by the United States, annihilating Tel Aviv, Israel, and placing its own leader at the center of all Arab/Israeli negotiations. Described as a "macho thriller" by Robert Lekachman in the New York Times Book Review, The Gaza Intercept boasts a team of Mossad heroes who eventually save Tel Aviv from destruction. Writes Lekachman: "To give Mr. Hunt his due, the caper has its moments. The action is swift if not always believable." Maude McDaniel, reviewing The Gaza Intercept for the Washington Post Book World, noted that "faithful readers may feel a sense of deja vu for they have undoubtedly read it all before, though perhaps less concisely." Commenting on the predictable nature of Hunt's plot lines, McDaniel added that Jay Black, the hero of The Gaza Intercept, "can hardly be told from any other thriller hero."
Hunt's most highly praised novel might be Dragon Teeth: A Novel, published in 1997. It features a retired CIA operative, Mark Brand, who now works in a covert think-tank. But when his twenty-four-year-old son, Peter, is imprisoned for spying, Brand re-enters the maelstrom of espionage. While searching for his child, Brand finds missile warheads armed with poison gas aimed at Taiwan. "Personal, political and historical events merge in this taut espionage thriller," asserted a Publishers Weekly writer. "Key action sequences and relish for the geopolitical game boost this hefty thriller."
In response to his critics, Hunt once told CA: "Whatever niche I may occupy as a writer will not be found among the Hate America, pacifist, social-consciousness group whose views dominate literary America and whose spokesmen view me through prisms of political and social prejudice. Widespread opprobrium attached to the CIA and the Nixon administration has had a damaging effect on my ability to publish successfully under my own name. And reviewers in general have chosen to criticize my life rather than professionally appraise my work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Authors in the News, Volume 1, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1976.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 3, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1975.
Szulc, Tad, Compulsive Spy: The Fated Career of E. Howard Hunt, Viking (New York, NY), 1974.
Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Library Journal, July, 1980, Henri C. Veit, review of The Hargrave Deception, p. 1546; March 1, 1997, Susan Gene Clifford, review of Dragon Teeth: A Novel, p. 102.
New York, June 2, 1986, "Claus and Howard," p. 30.
New York Times Book Review, June 29, 1980, Richard Freedman, review of The Hargrave Deception, p. 14; August 30, 1981, Robert Lekachman, review of The Gaza Intercept, p. 10; December 19, 1993, Newgate Callendar, review of Mazatlan, p. 19; November 27, 1994, Newgate Callendar, review of Ixtapa, p. 37; February 1, 1998, Andy Solomon, review of Dragon Teeth, p. 18.
People, June 14, 1982, "A Decade Later, Watergate's Veterans Are Winners, Losers, and Everything in Between," p. 100.
Publishers Weekly, April 18, 1980, review of The Hargrave Deception, p. 77; June 12, 1981, Barbara A. Bannon, review of The Gaza Intercept, p. 46; July 12, 1985, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Kremlin Conspiracy, p. 44; April 27, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Murder in State, p. 55; October 25, 1991, review of Body Count, p. 46; September 14, 1992, review of Chinese Red, p. 104; October 25, 1993, review of Mazatlan, p. 44; October 31, 1994, review of Ixtapa, p. 46; January 29, 1996, review of Izmir, p. 86; April 21, 1997, review of Dragon Teeth, p. 60; May 24, 1999, review of Guilty Knowledge, p. 67; December 20, 1999, review of Sonora, p. 56.
Time, June 14, 1982, Ed Magnuson, "Aftermath of a Burglary," p. 30; February 18, 1985, "Verdict Returned against E. Howard Hunt," p. 105.
Washington Post Book World, August 2, 1981, Maude McDaniel, review of The Gaza Intercept, p. 10; September 22, 1985, Carolyn Banks, review of The Kremlin Conspiracy, p. 6.
E. Howard Hunt Home Page, http://www.ehowardhunt.com (November 1, 2006).
rotten dot com, http://www.rotten.com/ (November 1, 2006), profile of E. Howard Hunt.
Washington Post Online, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (November 1, 2006), "The Watergate Story," profile of E. Howard Hunt.