Back in the 1960s, the American military thought they had an ace in the hole, flying their fighter jets above the range of radar. But somehow, the Soviets were picking them out of thin air. How did they do that? Undercover in Indonesia, the young CIA operative Daniel F. Cameron found the answer: missiles tipped with heat-seeking nose cones. A half century later, Dan tells how he laid hands not only on copies of the operating manuals but even on the critical hardware, with game-changing effect. His memoir In Red Weather: Turmoil In Indonesia—A CIA Insider's Account from the 1960s brings back an age of low-tech espionage in faraway places still steeped in the mystery we associate with the pages of Joseph Conrad.
More than that, it paints the portrait of the agent as a young man from Williamsburg whose working-class Irish origins hardly fit the profile. The vignettes of his larcenous childhood (he pinched comic books), the fairy-godmother émigrée who smoothed the path to a Harvard education, and his induction by one Mr. Eyebrows to the spook's trade are masterful, evoking vivid personalities sometimes in as little as a phrase. As it turns out, Dan also developed a connoisseur's appreciation of literature, music, and sculpture, which glints through his text like a silver thread, at the same time artless and artful.