28 March 2011

Fodor: "The Spy Who Loved Travel"

I know a guidebook writer. He claims the gig isn't quite as glamorous as you'd think. I'm inclined to believe him since, hey, travel writing isn't all daiquiris on beaches and Mai Thais on mountaintops, either. But Eugene Fodor, it turns out, was every bit as dashing and bad-ass as the rest of us travel scribes only pretend to be. 

He was a spy. And he hired other spies to write for him. No joke. From the AP
According to Hunt, Fodor had worked as a spy in Austria when the Office of Strategic Services became the CIA and continued in intelligence for 12 to 15 years. Fodor tried to keep the lid on in late 1974 and early `75, fearing relatives of his Czech-born wife could be put in danger. But pressed by the paper's expose, he acknowledged his covert work _ and his hiring of many guidebook writers who were CIA spies during the Cold War.
"But I told them to make sure and send me real writers, not civil engineers. I wanted to get some writing out of them. And I did, too," Fodor told the Times in June 1975.
In unrelated guidebook-related news, I was kind of amused by this post on Esquire.com about "Great Moments in Italian Food History," specifically this line:
1960 — Arthur Frommer's book Europe on $5 a Day becomes a bestseller; tens of thousands of young Americans travel to Italy
Truth. And Chef Boyardee, among others, piggybacked on the new American fascination with this sauce-covered deliciousness. For more on that, step right this way, please.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You know the drill: keep it civil and on-topic, don't spam, don't run with scissors, floss. For posts older than three weeks, comments will be moderated before publication.