Title: The Care of Devils
Author: Sylvia Press
Press, Sylvia (1958). The Care of Devils. Boston: Beacon Press
Date Posted: March 10, 2017
Popular lore says the CIA bought up all copies of this book. Well, there is at least one copy in the Library of Congress. WorldCat.org lists many, many libraries holding it. The toothpaste I guess. Hayden Peake has described it thusly: “[A second challenge was a] 1958 memoir by Sylvia Press, a former OSS officer who had joined the CIA. Summarily dismissed for security reasons, she wrote The Care of Devils, a thinly disguised autobiographic novel. The agency allegedly bought all copies and Press, too, was denied a pension.”
. . . . riding on the fear which is whipped up by a government investigation and exercised only at the expense of the innocent- in illustrated through the story of Ellen Simon who for twelve years has been an effective agent in Washington, engaged in “”sensitive work””. She is summarily subjected to an interrogation by Ross Jamison of Security, and during the six to seven weeks which follow, her initial disbelief gives way to hopelessness as everything she says is discounted, parried, perverted. An old love affair is revived; a casual trip to Mexico and contacts there become sinister and suspect; her signature on a petition- years ago- is damaging; and her own breaking nerves, and spirit, affect the polygraph ( detection) session which closes the case against her. An appeal is useless- but her faith in herself and in her rights intact-she decides to fight back. . . . The clear and everpresent danger of this kind of panic and persecution provides a highly readable story- tense and partisan.