Agony of a New Book

Anybody can write a book.  Producing a book is very hard.  It is right up there with producing a new product for a large company such as General Electric.  I have done both and I am not sure which is more difficult.

A new appliance starts with the drawings and specifications.  From these you have tools made and you buy equipment that holds the tools.  You design the tests and find space for the rest of the production facilities including assembly lines.  You make sure pilot models work as they are made on equipment you will use in actual production.  And you assure that the boxes they are sold in are made correctly, fit the product and look good.

Authors would be well-served if they had a mental image of the finished product sitting on their shelves.   They need a rough idea of the plot, but must be flexible.  Characters do not always do what you want them to do.  So plot changes will probably occur.  A new book requires front and back covers, well-edited text, pictures of acceptable quality, readable type size with the correct font.  Covers do sell books, you know.  Chapters must be appropriately ended.  A book is in fact a list of details that must be accomplished before it can be completed.  Tables of contents and indexes must be prepared.  There seem to be no end of concerns for you to handle personally before the book is ready for production.

Finally, each author of a new book is an entrepreneur, trying to sell copies in the face of stiff competition from many other authors with the same idea.  But if he has a good story, he will never be at rest until he has written it and has seen the book on people’s shelves.

In spite of all this, I have completed my last book.  I named it The Insider.  It is a novel about an American doctor who spent nine years flying into and out of the USSR during the Space Race when the US and USSR were competing with each other to be the first to land a man on the moon.   President John F. Kennedy got Premier Khrushchev of the USSR to allow a NASA doctor to visit the USSR’s secret space launch site about 1963 in spite of problems in Cuba and other US-USSR conflicts.   These two world leaders were looking far ahead in the space business.

All the experts say it did not happen.  But it did and the man they sent was a friend.  The few Government records that still exist support the NASA scientist’s story, even though most were hidden from me and any other writer.  It seems that most writer-experts relied on the CIA to tell them the truth, or they relied on people in the USSR to tell them the full story.  You may have noticed that books by and about Khrushchev just did not talk about the space program.   It seems that the US Congress did not know about the doctor, either.  If they did, they would have blabbed about him to everyone they knew.  But they thought there was a serious competition and had no idea we were helping the Soviets.

But that was over forty years ago, almost fifty years now.  Do you think anybody is willing to release the files on this simple doctor who helped keep Soviet cosmonauts alive?  Not in this country.  Perhaps one Soviet cosmonaut is still alive who might be interested in telling what he knows.

Anyway, the pain of producing The Insider is almost over.  The anticipation of the joy of upsetting self-proclaimed “experts” has kept me to the task.  I don’t have any more book ideas now, and this will be my tenth book, so I think I will quit.

Mensches and the American Way

Often I write about how we are pieces of a movement that enriches the world.  It’s the ‘Merican way.  If you do your genealogy, you know that.  Many Americans have enriched the world through medical research, industrial research and computer research among other ways.  What do I mean?

Well, ours is the country large enough and free enough to conduct a medical business that has money left over, a surplus, with which to invent new medicines and machines that will help people get well.  Other countries have medical systems that are dominated by government.  Their government has taken away all incentives to produce new medicines and machines.  They rely on the United States.  When the US becomes like them, its incentives will evaporate.

My own background is in industry.  I cannot tell you because I do not remember how many of my inventions and methods were used to manufacture devices in a less costly manner so that poor people could afford them.  Most of these devices were useful in removing dirt and germs, so people lived better.   And they had jobs they could depend on.

Of course, the computer industry revitalized our economy in the 1980’s.  Not only did we get a useful product, the computer, but also we got a lot of jobs for people.  Wealth was created.  We were free enough to evolve an entirely new industry the rest of the world did not have.  So we all have benefited .

Who was the guy that invented the computer hard drive?  I don’t know.  But I know he was a piece of the pattern that produced fast, long-lasting computer machines.  And that is about all we can hope for—to be a piece of the pattern.  Just as our forefathers and mothers were part of the pattern, adding a nip here and a tuck there in the human quilt, voting for the kind of place they wanted their children to grow up in.

Yesterday, I got word that my brother-in-law died.  He had been a professor of some arcane subject in the mechanical engineering school of a large state university.  Using his knowledge he developed tomorrow’s inventors.   He also came up with some pretty good ideas, himself.  But he had another attribute.  He was a mensch.

Ordinarily, I do not like to use foreign words when I write.  I love the English language (which is about 59% Latin).  But we don’t have the word for everything.  A mensch, if you don’t know, is Yiddish for

“Someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.”

(I found this definition on an interesting blog:

It was wonderful to have such a man in the family:  quiet, unassuming and brilliant.  He wasn’t a mensch because he was a professor.  He was a mensch because of  his life pattern of conduct.  The fact that he was interested in genealogy, the fact that he was a very good pianist and the fact that he was a fine Christian person had nothing to do with his mensch-ness.  That was because he chose to live a certain way and he stuck with it.

His name was David Shippy, PhD.  He was called professor but his real occupation was to contribute to society and his country in a positive way for as long as he could.   In that occupation he was successful.  His two children are contributors as well.  An attitude like Dave’s is contagious.  We’ll probably never know how large his contribution was, but you can bet it was big and red and fit extremely well in the fabric of  our social well-being.  And it will last for a long time.  But you have to stand back to see it.  The whole thing has been growing for over two hundred and thirty years.

Digging in the Past

Writing is not all agony.  I write things like this for fun and then send them to a friend, Leland Meitzler, so he can post them on his blog.  Besides, they don’t require a lot of research.  That work has already been done years ago when I compiled a genealogy.  The thing for you readers to remember is that they are all true.  Leland’s Blog is very informative and can be found at

Don’t Dig Up the Past!

Maybe it is just my family that has problems, but probably not.  I just know that I have been warned not to dig up the past by very serious cousins.  On more than one occasion and on more than one family line.  Of course, reasons were not offered (that would ruin the fun of making the warning).

I have never agreed to stop turning over rocks and looking under them.  I just couldn’t agree when I did not know what was hidden there waiting for me to find.  In fact, I was spurred on by such warnings.

Of course I found ugly things, especially surrounding the reputations of those who were murdered.  That is because it was necessary to blacken the names of those who were about to die.  You see, if a murderer went to trial, it was helpful to have killed a bad guy.  Juries understand bad guys.  Lawyers love to try the victims instead of the perpetrators.  Researchers have to learn to overlook purposeful blackening of names, especially when the victim was involved in a worthy purpose such as interfering with the KKK.

Do you know how the KKK was tracked down in  rural areas in 1874?  The deputy US Marshall went to retail shops and found out who was selling white sheets.  And then he found out who was buying those sheets.  Killers who hide under white sheets in the cover of night probably are not good judges of character, and when they are the ones spreading the stories about someone else, you can take those stories with a grain of salt.

When I began researching, I didn’t know who in my family was a good guy and who was not.  I just dug until I found the facts.  If I found evil people, that is what I reported.  If I found good people (or, “just not bad” people), I would report that as well.  Mainly, I found what type of enemies an ancestor had.  By learning about his enemies, I could get a grasp on my ancestor’s character.

But I will admit that I tend to think the best of someone until I learn differently.  After all, saints and sinners abound in this world and have done so for thousands of years.  There seem to have been more sinners than saints, making the search for holy folks take a little longer than the search for us ordinary types.

Now that I mention it, I do not recall anyone in my family who could qualify as a saint.  There were a few ministers and one who was both a doctor and a minister.  He was in St. Charles, MO in 1809-1811 when the biggest quakes in the US hit the Midwest and I don’t know if he uttered one cuss word.  That might qualify him for sainthood.  I didn’t look at him as a saint, however, but as an entrepreneur.  Because he was both a doctor and a preacher, he made money when people were coming and going.  Smart man, but not necessarily a saint.

And there was my cousin Jefferson Davis Grover (b. 1861and named for a Southern Saint) who was described by female cousins as the “handsomest man in the world.”   He died in 1925 in rather odd circumstances as told by his third wife.  He would not be a candidate for sainthood, either, unless you listened to his girlfriends.

There was a cousin, once, whom family members talked about in quiet whispers.  It seems her mother was not married to her father, but everyone knew about her birth. Of course, she was properly ostracized.  I have tried to locate this cousin who in my mind had no control over what her parents did.  I always felt she was treated rather shabbily.  She seems to want nothing to with the rest of us for some reason.  I can’t say I blame her.  To the best of my knowledge she has not taken a shot at any of us.  Maybe she is more of a saint than any of us realize.

Digging up the past is fun, as long as no one is hurt by it.  To this day, I have no idea why my cousins advised that I not research the family.  Maybe they heard something I missed.  Most likely they believed something that on the truth scale, ran between zero and one-half.  Maybe it made them feel important to be the sharer of family secrets.

No Messages from me from Beyond the Grave

I am still writing for a friend’s blog.  Here is a recent effort that is self explanatory:

Beyond the Grave

Filed in Thomas Fiske articles on Apr.05, 2010

Another amusing article by my friend, Tom Fiske:

Thomas Fiske I saw an Internet article titled “Texting from Beyond the Grave.” New technology allows a person to embed a chip in his or her granite tombstone that can be excited by telephones in the future so that a dead person’s typed message can be read out. Maybe a photo, too…

And I thought, “Some people just can’t let go.” But I also wondered if I were to leave such a statement, what my last message to the world might be. Would it be something like, “I told Evie I was sick…” or “Love your neighbor,” something that has been done much better and more often in the Bible. I just do not know. I doubt it would be one of those silly items that people send each other on the Internet each day—you know, one of those stories that is simply too cute to pass up, so you have to send the drivel on. Finding the right message would be a tough decision.

One day in 1944 in middle school a teacher had a boy by the name of Gilbert Lutz stand beside him in class. He commended the boy on his ability to carve. It seems the kid had boldly carved his name in a wood toilet seat in the boys’ bathroom. The teacher finished his special address to the carver by saying, “Of course, if that is where you want your name for all the world to see, you certainly have made your mark on the world.” I heard later that his parents were forced to replace the seat. We students wondered if Gilbert was allowed to keep the old seat so he could frame it and hang it on his wall at home.

So these new granite/electronic tombstones carry with them a great responsibility. But we genealogists can forget about them (and unadorned toilet seats, too) because we are already leaving powerful messages behind. Just a short list of a few generations would do, but many of us are also writing about our lives and the lives of our parents and even their parents. Most of these are monumental tales of proud, inner-directed folks.

I recall a Jewish lady who went to Poland in search of her ancestors. She was directed to a German Concentration Camp where her ancestors were put to death. Hers was a poignant story of bravery and destruction that carried with it a reminder of what can happen when we do not watch our political leaders very, very carefully.

My family was not Jewish (that we know of) but it consisted of soldiers in various wars. One was a corporal under Daniel Boone and General George Rogers Clark around 1784. He was not a big-time hero, but his deeds and deeds of those with whom he served, helped form this country. Those were the days when both moms and dads had to be good shots with a long rifle. Some of my people were Indians as well, so I came from a vast collection of shooters and shootees. They had very instructive tales to tell and I am writing them down as well as I am able.

You may choose a different course, but I believe I will forgo the granite messaging service. I have decided to  let my genealogy be my testimony, and my message for future generations.

Maybe I can’t let go either.

Hamburgers and Spies

Often, I write posts for another blog.  It belongs to the well-known genealogist Leland Meitzler, and its url is Here is one of my favorites that I wrote in January.

Cold Case Ancestors and Spies

It’s not that I have given up on Genealogy.  It’s just that all the easy stuff has come to light.  Now I am down to searching through Bavarian files from the 1800’s and early American files from the 1800’s.  Not as much fun as it used to be.  And the “oh, ho” remarks are sounding more and more like “oy,vey.” After all, I have been at it since I broke 100% of my legs about 1990.  That’s about 20 years.

Yes, I know many of you readers have been at it much longer than twenty years, and I have taken advantage of the Internet during my twenty years.   But you know what I mean: the easy data come first and then you run out of easy data unless you hail from a series of large families (another of Fiske’s maxims is that large families produce more genealogists than small families, making research come much more easily).

As I sat back to write this year’s Christmas letter to friends (Evie insists on doing a letter for family members) I gave a thought to bragging points.  It wasn’t long before I realized I was at an age when the length of a surgery scar was more important than the length of a holiday trip.  But I could talk about my new book, Ploughshares into Swords, which was selling a few copies;  I could mention my wild run-in with the CIA having to do with my tenth book; and there were two huge breakthroughs in my genealogy studies.

Nobody much cares about somebody else’s genealogy, though.  Unless it involves historical figures.  And part of mine was historical, in a way.  I had put away my folder on one of the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  This “cold case” was Sgt. Nathaniel Hale Pryor, who supposedly had a son, also named Nathaniel, born in Louisville, KY about 1806.  (My mother was a Pryor, who was born near Louisville in 1902, so I always had an interest in this family.)  Senior was definitely historical and Junior Pryor was instrumental in making sure California went to the United States when Mexico lost its hold, so I think he was also an historical figure.

This is the year (2009) in which I found that Junior was a son of Senior and that both Junior and Senior have descendants who are alive and kicking as this is being written.  Some of Junior’s descendants are actually grateful for my work in proving their relation to Senior, but it doesn’t do much good.  Actual proof of Senior’s ancestry goes back a generation or two in early Virginia.  Then it seems to fade away, although I think I know where it goes after that.

The important thing to me is that those Pryors were Americans– not original settlers perhaps, but very early, anyway.  Weren’t there already English people in Virginia when the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, MA, in 1620?  I personally have seen Plymouth Rock and I am no more proud of it than I am those kinder shores in Virginia upstream from where George Washington’s family arrived years later.

Being American is what counts, regardless of the year of entry to our country.

I said there were two big breakthroughs this year.  The Pryors were the first. What was the second?  Well, my Bavarian great-grandfather Adam had two families.  His wife died in the 1860’s in Louisville, leaving him with four small children.  One of them died and he farmed out the rest.  But I didn’t know that.  All I knew was that the first set of kids  disappeared from all records before 1870.  I spent many years looking for those youngsters.  Finding all of Adam’s second family had been a chore (and that’s my group), so I closed and put away the folder on his first family several years ago.  They became another cold case.

Then, about September, a descendant of a kid in the first family sent me an email.  Despite all I could do to discourage him, this young man proved he was indeed my cousin.  We shared Adam as an ancestor, but not Adam’s wife.  Cheerfully and gratefully, I shared what I knew about Adam.  He came from Bavaria, he said, and that is I all I know about the guy.  Oh, a good guess is that he lived in the Pfalz area , but that really is all I know.

So I have learned three things in 2009.  Two are specific items about my family members and the third is that there are no such things as truly cold cases.

One more thing—when I meet certain people in a restaurant to get background material for my next book, I am taking a camera.  I hate being spied on.

The Fire Is Out

Maya Angelou, I am told, said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  I find her statement to be true.  But I am running out of agony.   That is, my recent book is about ready for the publisher and I have no desire to write anything else.

Once I wrote a book just for fun.  It was about time travel and it was called, Time Out of Joint, a quote from one W. Shakespeare.   Nothing was burning a hole in my gut until I finished that story—Maya’s agony was missing.  But it came out all right.

The rest of my books, all eight or nine of them, though—they were born of agony.   I knew I had to write them or be very uncomfortable the rest of my days.  It was family stuff—stories about family members who died for a cause or did something unusual—those true tales pressured me into writing.

This final story is about a friend, a doctor who spent some nine years in the USSR during the space race.  Through him (I call him Tad Benson), the US and the USSR shared space medicine information.  President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev set up the program.   But the USSR could not admit it had help from the US and the US could not admit it had helped the USSR for a variety of reasons.  So, even today the story I told is universally denied.

Tad died a few years ago, an unsung hero.  All his years of inventing, testing and establishing friendships in two major countries have gone down the drain.  But he reached his goal and did not lose an astronaut or cosmonaut during his time of caring for them.

Tad’s story produced agony until it was written.  It is called The Insider—NASA’s Man in Baikonur. Baikonur was the name of the secret Soviet rocket launch site.  Now I can rest.

When I give a talk about one of my books, there is always someone in the audience, or maybe two, who say, “I know a story about ____.  But I never got around to writing it.”

My response has always been, “When it burns a hole in your gut, you’ll write that story.”  That was a long time before I read Maya’s quote.  But I knew, I just was certain that the burning of the gut is what drove me and very likely drives many other writers.

When people ask me, “What kinds of reviews did you get for this book?” I tell them the truth.  And the truth is that I don’t care.  Once the fire is out and the book is complete I can live again.  I don’t read the few reviews that I get.  It is too late to do anything about them because the book is finished and I am on to another project.

Well, I am through with projects.  I refuse to hear about any more of them.

And finally, the fire is out.

Writing for Friends

Lately I have not been writing for my blogs.  Instead I have been writing for another blog.  It is Leland Meitzler’s Genealogy Blog.  There I am a special category.  It is called Thomas S. Fiske Posts” or some such thing.  I asked Leland if I could put some of my Genealogy Posts on on my Blog, and he said he didn’t care.  So that is what I am going to do .  The next few posts on this blog will be posts from Leland’s Genealogy Blog.  But they won’t just be abut genealogy, they will be about all kinds of things.  I hope you will visit the genealogy blog.  It has all kinds of good information on it, not to mention some very good writers.

Here is the URL of the Genealogy Blog:

Intel Agencies–Another First

Every kid goes through a lot of first-time experiences.   You know, first long pants like my older brothers had, first adult-size pillow, first bicycle, first BB gun and many other firsts a kid has to fight for and can almost taste before he gets them.

At the outer fringes of my youth and well over sixty years of age, I am still a kid a heart.  So I really was interested in my first Spook event.  No, it’s too late for Halloween, I mean another kind of spook, entirely.

You see, I was at a hamburger place recently.  I  agreed to meet with a fellow radio Ham and a man who said he had once been with the CIA.  I wanted background material for my next book, which is highly complimentary of the CIA and US Intel agencies.  I had asked the CIA and others for help with the project, so I know they know what I am doing.  I have no secrets.  A little advertising is always a lot of help.

So I got to the restaurant and waited for the other two men to show up.  The Ham came first.  Having worked in the electronics industry, George is a few years older than I and has many more years of electronic experience.  I don’t know what he worked on.  He isn’t allowed to tell me and he doesn’t.  Maybe he didn’t even work on electronics.

We started with a pair of lemonades while we waited for Jack, the third guy.  George and I sat in a booth in the back of the restaurant where we hear but could not be overheard.  He chose the booth.  We talked for a few minutes and I made notes.  It was subtle, but I noticed that George changed topics and began to tell me about things he had mentioned before.  Soon he was telling innocuous stories about physics.  It was hard for me to follow.  Something was plainly wrong.  I thought it was because Jack had not showed up and he was stalling for time.

Eventually Jack arrived and sat down.  He was very vague as well.  He went to get himself a lemonade.  I noticed a man sitting in a booth facing ours.  He was reading a girly novel and holding the book in a peculiar fashion.  I thought little about him.

When Jack returned he suggested moving to another booth.  There, he sat against the wall where he could see out across the room.  He and George made remarks to each other that I did not understand.  I told them, “You guys are like twins who have your own private language.  I wish I knew what was going on.” At that moment, the reader stood and called for a waitress.  He told her there was a package under the table where we had been sitting.  She came over and got it to put in their “lost and found” drawer.  It belonged to Bill, so he asked her for it.

George and Jack laughed.  Jack said “I’ll tell you in a minute.”  He waited until the book reader left.  Then Jack said, “We’re being watched.  George and I are used to it.  There were two men in here keeping an eye on us.  One just left.  He could have just given that package to us, but he didn’t want us to look at him.  We can go ahead and talk now.”

Of course I asked about the two men.  I felt dumb because I wasn’t aware of all that was going on around me.  (I usually am aware of my surroundings, but I was focused on getting answers to questions about Spookisms I had generated while writing.)

We talked for quite a while.  Another man came in, a radio Ham whom George and I knew, but Jack did not.  We made introductions.  And then George began chatting with the new guy.  Jack said out of the corner of his mouth, “George is keeping him busy so we can talk, so go ahead.”  It was such a smooth transition that neither the new guy nor I had noticed it.  Once again, I was angry with myself because I missed the maneuvering.

Nevertheless, I learned new things to put in my book, which is nearing its last chapter.  When the interview was about over, I gave Jack a copy of my last book and wrote a dedication in the cover to him.  George wanted him to read it.  He thought it might have enough interesting material in it for a documentary film.  Jack produces films on the side.

Jack thanked me for the book.  He was interested in my unfinished book, he said, for its documentary value.  He didn’t know about Ploughshares, my current book about Caltech and its secret operations during WWII.

I looked around for more watchers, didn’t see any, and left the restaurant, happy that I may have obtained enough material to complete my next book.

I couldn’t help but wonder at whom the spooks were really directing their attention and how they knew we would be at that restaurant at that time, and so on.

It was later that I realized I had experienced another “first.”  It was the first time I had been “spooked.”  Getting a new bike is more fun.

Wanted Publicity, dead or alive

Recently IE Magazine came out with its latest issue.  It is dedicated to Industrial Engineers mostly in America and I am a life member of the organization.  So the editors gladly gave me part of a page to tell about what I, a retired industrialist have been doing.  Here is how it came out:

Page 12 of IE Magazine

Sometimes the agony of writing is partly made up for by either extra publicity or extra large checks.  So far I have not had much experience with the checks.

Khrushchev Lied and an American Spied

As I was writing yesterday’s post to this blog, I wondered who would be upset when my book, The Insider comes out. This is the actual story of NASA’s man who spent nine years flying into and out of the USSR during the Space Race and the Cold War. He was a space medicine scientist who was successful at keeping Soviet cosmonauts alive. He was a physician, a scientist, an inventor, and a serious man. That is why I believed my friend Tad when he told me about his adventures.

Seriousness aside, I checked his story. He had told me that on his return trips he had to be debriefed by two US Intel agencies. I found that he was attached to the NSA and the CIA for those nine years, according to their own records. The Department of State had absolutely no information on Tad except for one small document it had forgotten to purge. NASA had piles of information on Tad about his medical work in micro-gravity conditions, but it had no information about his travels to the USSR.

Tad had been a guest of the USSR at the invitation of Premier Krushchev. I wrote to authors of various books and articles about the Space Race and about “inside” information on the NSA and CIA, and I also wrote to one descendant of Premier Krushchev who knew a great deal about the USSR in those days. To date no one has told me that I am nuts. Most have said, “I didn’t know. Give me more details.” A copy of a letter from the NSA usually convinced them.

So now, as I finish my book on Tad, I wonder about the people I am going to offend. At least two countries are involved, of course: the US and Russia. Let’s look at Russia first.

Apparently, the Russian people know almost nothing about any assistance from the West. It appears from what I have read that the Russian people do not know about America’s Lend Lease program of the early 1940’s. In that program America supplied the Russians with aircraft, guns, ammunition, food and other supplies with which to fight the Germans. The Russian people do not know they were assisted in “The Great Patriotic War,” even sixty or more years afterward. The Russian people were not told the name of their space program manager until about 1985, when he died. His face was never shown on any Soviet TV, his name was never mentioned. Certainly, the Russian people do not know they were assisted in their space program by their chief competitor, the United States. Once the Russian people find out we helped them, they might be angry at their own leaders.

What about America’s allies? They might be offended when they find out we helped the USSR and didn’t tell them. More than that—we lied to our allies about what we knew. I doubt that we have come clean because no one seems to know about Tad. Of course authors of books and magazines and news articles in other countries will feel duped.

And in America, itself, there may be problems. President John F. Kennedy began this program a few months before he was killed. President Johnson and President Nixon continued the program and did not tell Congress. Those presidents lied to the US press and to the Congress in order to keep funds flowing for the space program. It may not have been a space race after all. Congress consists of the biggest bunch of blabbermouths in the US. If Congress people had known about Tad the world would have known about Tad, right after the Congress people were sworn to secrecy. There is no reason to think that NASA ever knew that Tad, formerly one of their own, had been in the USSR.

Several, if not all US Intel agencies knew about Tad. People in those agencies are all retired now and many have died. Newer members of the agencies don’t care about something that happened forty years ago. They have enough trouble with today’s problems.

Well, US Intel agencies might care to this extent: Tad’s trips to the USSR during the Cold War era were an intelligence coup. When my story is printed and people realize what the Intel people have done while claiming they didn’t even know where the Soviet secret launch was, they should have more confidence in these shadowy agencies.

Of course, there are American authors and former Soviet people in this country who write articles and books—they are sure to be embarrassed when the truth comes out. They have already commented on President Kennedy’s offer to share information on space medicine and have said that the offer was refused. Too bad for them.

But the people who really care the most about this story probably are those who make up the US president’s office. I suspect (but do not know) that President Kennedy promised Premier Khrushchev that the US Government would never tell the Soviet people that we helped them in the Space Race. There is, according to the CIA, a file on TAD that has a presidential seal on it. That means the file is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act laws.

Also, it may be that the US President does not want the US Congress to know that a previous president failed to report to Congress that we had a man in the USSR during the Space Race.

I sure would like to see that file. I have written to two presidents and asked to have a look. I even asked my congressman to ask the President. The President has not honored my request.

When Tad told me his story, he was dying. He has been gone for almost seven years. To my way of thinking he was a great American hero, a brave man who ventured into the Soviet Union without protection. He did it not once but many times during the Cold War, even when there was a sudden change in Soviet leadership in 1964 and he did not know whether he would be arrested. But by then he had many friends among the Soviet scientists and cosmonauts, and maybe they had enough pressure to protect him. We will never be certain about that, only that Tad went when he was called.