John Barron (journalist)
John Daniel Barron was a conservative American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 journalist and investigative writer. He is best remembered as the author of several books dealing with specifics of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....


Early years

John Barron was born January 26, 1930, in Wichita Falls, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, the son of a Methodist minister.

He graduated from the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 and studied Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 at the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Naval Postgraduate School
Naval Postgraduate School
The Naval Postgraduate School is an accredited research university operated by the United States Navy. Located in Monterey, California, it grants master's degrees, Engineer's degrees and doctoral degrees...

 in Monterey, California
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

. He served in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 as a naval intelligence
Office of Naval Intelligence
The Office of Naval Intelligence was established in the United States Navy in 1882. ONI was established to "seek out and report" on the advancements in other nations' navies. Its headquarters are at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Maryland...


Journalistic career

In 1957, he joined the Washington Star
Washington Star
The Washington Star, previously known as the Washington Star-News and the Washington Evening Star, was a daily afternoon newspaper published in Washington, D.C. between 1852 and 1981. For most of that time, it was the city's newspaper of record, and the longtime home to columnist Mary McGrory and...

as a investigative reporter.

In 1965, Barron joined the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest is a general interest family magazine, published ten times annually. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, its headquarters is now in New York City. It was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace...

. There he wrote more than 100 stories on a wide variety of subjects—notably a 1980 story concerning unanswered questions surrounding the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne was an American teacher, secretary, and political campaign specialist who died in a car accident in Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969, while a passenger in a car being driven by U.S. Senator Edward M...

 at Chappaquiddick
Ted Kennedy Chappaquiddick incident
The term "Chappaquiddick incident" refers to the circumstances involving the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, whose body was discovered underwater inside an automobile belonging to her driver, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. During the early morning hours of July 19, 1969, Kopechne's body and the car...

, which involved Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...


In 1996, Barron published a book detailing the saga of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 Operation SOLO, involving the infiltration of the top leadership of the Communist Party, USA by the FBI's secret informant Morris Childs. From 1958 through 1977 Childs traveled to Moscow over 50 times, acting as a courier between the CPUSA and Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. Childs was instrumental in helping with the transfer of over $28 million from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Communist Party of the USA to help fund its activities, with each transaction painstakingly reported by Childs to his FBI handlers. This story had been told, in fictional form, in Baynard Kendrick
Baynard Kendrick
Baynard Hardwick Kendrick wrote whodunit mystery novels about Duncan Maclain, a blind private investigator who worked with his two German shepherds and his household of assistants to solve murder mysteries. The novels were the basis for two films starring Edward Arnold, Eyes in the Night and The...

's 1959 novel, Hot Red Money.

Death and legacy

John Barron died in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 on February 24, 2005. He was 75 years old at the time of his death.

Barron's papers are held by the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 Archives at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 in Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto is a California charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States. The city shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park. It is...



  • KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1974. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974. [pb] New York: Bantam Books, 1974.
  • Murder of a gentle land: the untold story of a Communist genocide in Cambodia, Authors John Barron, Anthony Paul, Reader's Digest Press, 1977.
  • MiG Pilot: the Final Escape of Lt. Belenko
    Viktor Belenko
    Viktor Ivanovich Belenko is Soviet defector and aerospace engineer and lecturer. Belenko was sentenced to death in the Soviet Union for state treason. He was born in Nalchik, Russian SFSR in a Ukrainian family...

    , New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.
  • "The KGB's Magical War for 'Peace'" in Ernest W. Lefever and E. Stephen Hunt (eds.), The Apocalyptic Premise: Nuclear Arms Debated: Thirty-one Essays by Statesmen, Scholars, Religious Leaders, and Journalists. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982.
  • KGB Today: The Hidden Hand. New York: Berkley Books, 1985.
  • Breaking the Ring: The Bizarre Case of the Walker Family Spy Ring John Anthony Walker
    John Anthony Walker
    John Anthony Walker, Jr. is a former United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer and communications specialist convicted of spying for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985, at the height of the Cold War...

    . Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
  • Operation SOLO: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin, Washington, DC: Regnery, 1996.

Further reading

  • Cristopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin
    Vasili Mitrokhin
    Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin was a Major and senior archivist for the Soviet Union's foreign intelligence service, the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, and co-author with Christopher Andrew of The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, a massive account of Soviet intelligence...

     (1999), The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, New York: Basic Books.
  • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2005), The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World, New York: Allan Lane.
  • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2005), The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, New York: Basic Books.
  • Anthony Cave Brown
    Anthony Cave Brown
    Anthony Cave Brown was an English-American journalist, espionage non-fiction writer and historian.-Early years:...

     and Charles B. MacDonald
    Charles B. MacDonald
    This article refers to Charles B. MacDonald, military historian. For the U.S. golfer, refer to Charles B. Macdonald.Charles B. MacDonald was a former Deputy Chief Historian for the United States Army...

     (1981), On a Field of Red: The Communist International and the Coming of World War II .
  • Baynard Kendrick (1959), Hot Red Money, New York: Dodd, Mead.

External links

See also

  • Morris Childs
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