A Woman I Know: Female Spies, Double Identities, and a New Story of the Kennedy Assassination (Hardcover)
The “fascinating” (The New York Times) true story of a filmmaker whose investigation of her film’s subject opened a new window onto the world of Cold War espionage, CIA secrets, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
“A compelling real-life thriller.”—The Telegraph (UK)
Independent filmmaker Mary Haverstick thought she’d stumbled onto the project of a lifetime—a biopic of aviation pioneer Jerrie Cobb, the key figure in a group of extraordinary women who in 1960 passed the same tests as the legendary male astronauts of the Mercury 7 but never went to space. Just as casting was set to begin, Haverstick received a mysterious warning from a government agent; soon she began to suspect that there was more to Jerrie’s story than what met the eye. As she dug deeper, she discovered that Jerrie’s life shadowed that of a mysterious CIA agent named June Cobb, whose espionage career traced an arc of intrigue from the jungles of South America to Fidel Castro’s Cuba, to the communist literary circles in Mexico City—and ultimately into the dark heart of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas.
Haverstick’s attempt to learn the truth directly from Jerrie would plunge her into a cat-and-mouse game that stretched across a decade, deep into a thicket of coded CIA files. As she uncovered a remarkable set of mostly unknown women whose high-stakes intelligence work left its only traces in redacted files, she also found shocking new clues about what really happened at Dealey Plaza in 1963. Offering fresh insight into the Kennedy assassination and a vivid picture of women in midcentury intelligence, A Woman I Know brings to life the astonishing duplicities of the Cold War intelligence game, a world where code names and hidden identities were the lifeblood of spies bent on seeking advantage by any means necessary.
About the Author
Mary Haverstick is a director, writer, and cinematographer. Her most notable work as director was for Home, 2009, which starred Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden. She is currently chronicling the turbulent political landscape of her home state, Pennsylvania, for her documentary, Tipping Point, PA.
“Fascinating . . . [Haverstick] distills a prodigious amount of research into a fast-moving story. . . . As a fresh history of U.S. espionage, A Woman I Know is an absorbing read.”—The New York Times
“An anxious, furious, forensic contribution to the study of the assassination of US president John F Kennedy . . . Haverstick is in earnest here, and has a memory like a filing system and a filing system like a vice. The least this book could possibly be is a compelling real-life thriller, full of passion, free of writerly fuss, woven from the most intractable archival cat’s cradle imaginable. That’s what you’ve got, even before you think to take it seriously—and I’ll bet the farm that you will.”—The Telegraph
“Intriguing and endlessly enigmatic . . . A cat-and-mouse search for a woman’s identity opens onto a shadowy corner of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. . . . Jerrie Cobb’s fascinating life reveals her to be ‘a spy, an explorer, a gambler, an astronaut, an illusionist, a narcissist, and a con’—and, to say the least, a puzzle.”—Kirkus Reviews