Sunday, July 17, 2005

Eugene Fodor -- C.I.A. Spook?

Concorde Final Flight

There has long been a rumor that guidebook publisher Eugene Fodor worked for the C.I.A. as an undercover spook, and that his early series of guidebooks to Europe were actually used by other agents are covers for information collection. While the whole idea sounds absurd to me, Gridskipper recently picked up the thread with some new observations. I'll post the short article below, but you'll need to visit the website to click the active links, some of which are very intriguing.

The Fodor Supremacy

Everyone’s familiar with the legendary Fodor’s travel guides. Founder Eugene Fodor, who died in 1991, published his first guidebook (1936 … On the Continent) just in time for a healthy increase in war-related European travel. He was also dogged by a rather weird accusation: that he worked for the CIA. As indicated by this clipping from Fodor’s obituary in the New York Times, the dirt apparently originated with Watergate scoundrel E. Howard Hunt.

Though it seems unlikely that Fodor himself worked directly for the CIA, he was very well educated, spoke five languages, and had served five years in the U.S. Army’s intelligence branch. The undenied possibility that CIA agents abroad pretended to be guidebook researchers seems pretty plausible. Of course, how do you explain that none other than E. Howard Hunt wrote guidebooks to Cozumel and Guadalajara and other exotic destinations! Oh wait, those are spy novels. Or are they? Also consider this pivotal document signaling the souring of Fodor’s-CIA relations as late as 2004. Someone’s off the reservation, if you know what I mean.

About Us [Fodor’s]
E. Howard Hunt [Wikipedia]
CIA or State: Whose Advice Most Up to Date? [Fodor’s

Gridskipper on the Fodor Conspiracy

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