“Lillian McCloy gives us the story of a life spent around secret intelligence that is funny and charming and in every wonderful sense, deeply spooky.”–PICO IYER, author of The Art of Stillness and Video Night in Kathmandu

Book reviews and media mentions

Interview with Johanna McCloy. “Daughter of a CIA operative and editor of her mom Lillian’s book that tells their story” – No Bed of Roses podcast 

 “Under deep cover in the CIA during the Cold War.”  – Berkeleyside
Excerpt: “It’s charming, often troubling, and sometimes hilarious and is altogether a fascinating read.” (Book review by Mal Warwick, a member of the National Book Critics Circle and chair of the board of directors of the Bay Area Book Festival.)

“Living and Surviving ‘Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant'”BOOMER Magazine
Excerpt: ” . . .  while the tale reveals the complexity and challenges of a spy family’s lifestyle, McCloy tells it with generous doses of humor and candor. Indeed, throughout the memoir, McCloy shares a multitude of odd, eye-opening and incredible tales with inimitable wit and fortitude.” 

Book Review: Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant.Story Circle Book Reviews
Excerpt: “McCloy is a brilliant storyteller, sharing honest emotions without becoming sentimental. Her husband’s new assignments required learning to live in new and diverse cultures and often created palpable tension. Sometimes I had to remind myself this is not a novel, it’s Lillian’s life. Wow!” 

“Motherhood and the CIA: One Woman’s Incredible Memoir.”Bookstr
Excerpt: “The McCloy family had to adapt to everyday life – but in the strangest of circumstances. As Lillian depicts the delicate balance between normalcy and the extraordinary, her humor and wit shine throughout, bringing such a wild story down to earth with a deeply-embedded sense of human nature.” 

“The 80s, Espionage, & Editing”Story Geometry podcast. Host Ben Hess talks to Lillian McCloy (author) and Johanna McCloy (editor/daughter) about Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant

Book Review: Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant Expat Focus 
Excerpt: “Lillian McCloy is a talented writer . . . her story is absolutely fascinating . . . a particularly exciting read . . . definitely recommended!” 

“Who’s That Indie Author? Lillian McCloy”Book Club Mom

California Legislature Certificate of Recognition

Author Lillian McCloy received this California Legislature Certificate of Recognition from her then-Assemblymember, Rob Bonta. Bonta is now Attorney General for the state of California.

(Click to view the image in larger size.)


“Rad Women, Deep Cover, and a Filipino Folktale,” Alameda Magazine
Excerpt: “McCloy uses her humor, wit, and resolve deftly to keep a healthy perspective on just what she has gotten herself into.”

“Woman Fulfills Mom’s Wish by Getting Her Book Published for Her 90th Birthday”Your Daily Dish
Excerpt: “‘I thought it would be a worthy challenge, but more importantly, a valuable gift to my mother and a way to finally share our family’s story publicly,’ McCloy told Your Daily Dish.” 

“The blend of humor, practical information, and country-hopping adventure maintains a fast pace, bringing many thought-provoking moments. Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant should be welcomed by readers interested in overseas adventures, the realities of a spy’s family, and how families adapt to living in foreign countries.” – Midwest Book Review

13 Book Recommendations to Read During Quarantine: Books to Read While Staying At Home” – Online Daily 24