Born in Chicago Sam attended the U of Wisconsin (BS, pol sci, 1952) and the U of Chicago (1954-7). He was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity (Beta Omicron 1950). He served in the military (1952-4), earning the rank of first Lt, and subsequently worked for the U S Information Agency, serving in Iraq(in 1958 he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for bravery during the Baghdad revolution), Pakistan, Indonesia, and Greecebetween 1957 and 1965.Leaving the United States foreign service after eight years, he stayed on in Greece. He undertook further study (1963-4) at the Uni of Thessaloniki, and lived for three years on the island of Mykonos, where he began to write his first novel. That was eventually published in 1969 as The Spook Who Sat by the Door, the story of a black man who is recruited as a CIA agent and having mastered the skills of a spy then uses them to lead a black guerrilla movement in the US.
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