Ric Prado–the highest-ranking covert warrior to lift the veil of secrecy–tells the story of his legendary career and offers a glimpse into the shadow wars that America has fought since the Vietnam Era in his harrowing memoir, BLACK OPS: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior.
Today, Ric joins us to share what libraries mean to him.
When my publisher approached me about writing a letter to librarians, I was excited. Finally, a chance to say thank you. Thank you for providing books to those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to read them.
I was born in Cuba. I lived through the Cuban Revolution, where, by the age of 7, I witnessed more than my share of combat and death in my hometown of Manicaragua. In April 1962, when I was ten years old, I came to the U.S. as a legal refugee via the Catholic Church’s “Peter Pan” program, which placed me in an orphanage in Colorado. I spoke no English and the very scale and vastness of Colorado after life on an island was like watching a Disney movie. That’s when I first discovered a passion for reading. In fact, SEE SPOT RUN books were the source of my first words of English.
Eight months later, my mother and father made it to the U.S. and brought me to Florida. Those first years in Florida were hardscrabble ones indeed. My father worked two jobs and dragged me with him to work on Saturdays. My mother labored away in a sweatshop making shirts. During my spare time, I read. As I got older, I tore through Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, delving into the romantic world of fast cars, bad guys, and spies. Some might say this was the spark that led me down the road I chose in life and write about in BLACK OPS. But 007’s spy universe bore no resemblance to the full-contact, dark world that became my life for the next decades. Bond had his Goldfinger’s and Doctor No’s, but in the shadows we operated in, we faced no such cartoonish villains.
But that hasn’t perturbed my love of books. In retirement, books have taken on a central role in my life again. Hey, I did just write one! I hope you get the chance to read my story. BLACK OPS follows my career in the CIA from the Cold War through the War on Terror. I aim to share what I’ve been through and what I’ve learned, and I hope my book is a testament to the courage, creativity, and dedication of the Agency’s elite shadow warriors.
Thank you again for all of your support, and for helping readers discover their new favorite books.