Entering the Air Force in 1963, Friend served in the Air Defense Command before traveling worldwide as a CIA operations officer and instructor and working in special operations and counterterrorism. He was still in the CIA when he began his 14-year battle with suicidal depression. In 1988, he was ready for a new assignment in Pakistan, but his wife did not want him to go. In what he regards as a "betrayal of mammoth proportions," she made a phone call that put him in a mental hospital, preventing his planned career move. In the first part of this memoir, Friend describes life in the psych ward: the medications, the psychological tests, his friends there (and the loss when they were discharged), group therapy, the stress of dealing with his domineering wife, and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Retiring from the agency, he finds new work in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and separates from his wife. Although Friend's prose is literal and flat, his struggle to rebuild his life after losing his family, friends, and career keeps one turning pages.