Converse College Adjunct Professor of English Arthur McMaster has a new book, published by Outskirts Press. A memoir, his volume is titled Need to Know, Journey of an American Intelligence Officer to College Professor and Poet. The author details his career with the US intelligence: DIA, CIA, Army Intel, culminating with several years as a senior staff officer for Special Operations Command (counter-terrorism work). He returned to graduate school at the age of 58 to earn an MFA in Creative Writing, to become a better poet, and to secure his requisite teaching credentials.
“It may be ‘the biggest club in the free world,’ but most of us aren’t in it.”
McMaster began his career in foreign intel work as a Czech linguist in Bavaria and finished it as the Defense Department’s executive responsible for cooperative, special counter-terrorism initiatives with Great Britain’s elite SAS and Commando forces, following al Qaeda attacks on America in 2001. His book details his close calls in Europe with foreign and hostile agents who often worked the prostitute streets of Berlin, Bonn, or Nuremburg seeking to compromise American intelligence personnel. “There was nothing subtle,” he says of one occurrence in a Bavarian nightclub, “about the man’s cold pitch, and that surprised me.” His years with DIA, CIA and Army Intelligence strengthened his facility for languages and placed him at the pinnacle of cooperative intel work with NATO partners and later with Israeli Defense Force counterparts. Returning to graduate school after ten years with U.S. Special Operations Command, having dealt daily with special ops shooters, planners, and counter-terrorist experts, McMaster became a gifted writer, poet, playwright and professor.
Of his book, poet and Rattle editor Tim Green says “Arthur McMaster is a poet of honesty, precision, and humor, skills he puts to good use in demystifying the role of ‘an average government man’ in the intelligence community. It may be ‘the biggest club in the free world,’ but most of us aren’t in it. Fortunately, McMaster has lent us his poetic eye, and shared his inexplicable journey from hunting villains to honing villanelles.”