Waller, John H. 1923-2004
WALLER, John H. 1923-2004
(John McGregor, John Rowland, John Henry Waller)
PERSONAL: Born May 8, 1923, in Paw Paw, MI; died of complications from pneumonia November 4, 2004, in Arlington, VA; son of George and Marguerite (Rowland) Waller; married Barbara Steuart Hans, September 2, 1947; children: Stephanie Robinson, Gregory, Maria. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1946.
CAREER: U.S. Foreign Service, Iran, vice-consul, 1947–53, New Delhi, India, special assistant to the ambassador, 1955–57, 1968–71, Khartoum, Sudan, second section, 1960–62; State Department, Washington, DC, political analyst, 1962–68; Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, inspector general, 1976–80; writer, 1980–2004. Worked briefly in banking after college; freelance writer, 1968; Virginia Military Institute, board of directors international affairs.
AWARDS, HONORS: Career Services Award, National Civil Service League, 1979, 1980; Distinguished Intelligence Medal, Central Intelligence Agency, 1980.
Gordon of Khartoum: The Saga of a Victorian Hero, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.
The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.
The Devil's Doctor: Felix Kersten and the Secret Plot to Turn Himmler against Hitler, J. Wiley (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author (as John McGregor) of Tibet: A Chronicle of Exploration, 1970; and (as John Rowland) Hostile Co-Existence: History of Sino-Indian Relations, 1988. Contributor of popular history articles to professional journals.
SIDELIGHTS: A former inspector-general for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John H. Waller wrote a number books on espionage and other historical topics, penning four under his own name and two under the pseudonyms John McGregor and John Rowland. Waller, who worked for many years in the Foreign Service and as a CIA operative in the Middle East, Sudan, and India, relied on his experience when writing such books as Gordon of Khartoum: The Saga of a Victorian Hero, and Beyond the Khyber Pass: The Road to British Disaster in the First Afghan War. The latter work details the siege of Kabul in the 1840s when the British lost thousands of soldiers. Genevieve Stuttaford, writing in Publishers Weekly, called Waller's account "rich in adventure, intrigue and treachery," and concluded that "this first-rate history … captures the savage grandeur of the First Afghan War."
Waller, who died in 2004, also penned The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War, a book offering "intrigue-packed anecdotes of now-well-known Axis and Allied intelligence operations," according to Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor. The German chief of military intelligence, Wilhelm Canaris, figures large in Waller's narrative, which Taylor deemed "a quality general overview." A critic for Publishers Weekly felt that among the book's "outstanding points" is Waller's argument that at the end of the 1930s a successful coup against Hitler could have occurred had there been assistance lent by British and French forces. The same contributor called The Unseen War in Europe a "useful and stimulating contribution." A further World War II title from Waller is The Devil's Doctor: Felix Kersten and the Secret Plot to Turn Himmler against Hitler, which was published two years before the author's death.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 1996, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War, p. 1341.
Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Beyond the Khyber Pass: The Road to British Disaster in the First Afghan War, p. 236; February 26, 1996, review of The Unseen War in Europe, p. 91.
Washington Post, November 7, 2004.
BlogofDeath.com, http://www.blogofdeath.com/ (December 2, 2004), "John. H. Waller."