Reading: When Your Father is a Spy


When Your Father is a Spy

Eva Dillon thought she knew everything about her father

by Lesley Jane Seymour

Paul Dillon standing before The Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of the World's Cultures") in Tiergarten Park, Berlin. The building was a gift from the United States and was designed by American architect Hugh Stubbins. In June 1963, John F. Kennedy spoke here during his visit to Berlin in the height of the Cold War. Courtesy of Eva Dillon.

Growing up, Eva Dillon and her family moved all over the world because her father worked for the State Department–or so she’d been told. During the summer of 1975, when she was 17 and the Dillons were living in New Delhi, her father was revealed to be a CIA spy.

Years later, while clearing out her mothers home, Eva and her brother stumbled across letters and newspaper clippings that led Eva to begin digging into her father’s past. The result is a book called Spies in the Family–a story about how her father ended up managing the CIA’s highest-ranking double agent, Soviet general Dmitri Fedorovich Polyakov and helping keep the Cold War from turning hot.

In CoveyClub podcast #1, CC’s Lesley Jane Seymour talks to Eva about the personal side of the story: one daughter’s journey toward seeing her father in a new light. Eva also discusses how she reinvented her career, successfully morphing from magazine publisher to late-in-life writer. Click here to download The Covey Cast from Podbean or iTunes and to listen to this very inspiring discussion. And note: Eva makes a very special offer to CoveyClub members at the end of the podcast.

  1. Bonnie Barest

    Eva’s story is really a great read. Plus, it was great to hear her at the 92Y.

    I’ve known Eva for many years when she was in the publishing business and I was so excited to learn of her story.

    Can’t wait to listen to the Podcast.

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