Bayard Fox and his eloquent and brave autobiography of a solitary pioneer evokes those of other men on horseback, such as T.E. Lawrence and Teddy Roosevelt. Their dazzling physical exploits and success in battle made them legendary in their lifetimes, apart from the historical roles for which we remember them. Fox, at 92, reveals a similarly rich life of impossible adventures—and of hardships mastered by grit and mysterious good fortune—in his own spare and unsparing voice. You’ll be riveted and grateful to discover it before he and his generation’s other remaining survivors ride ahead over the last ridge.
‘Fisherman, Rancher, Horseman, Spy: True Stories of a Life Well-Lived’, will captivate the mind and enthrall the imagination. It is and will be a timeless classic that survives the test of time. We highly recommend it to all this fall and welcome everyone to read this exclusive interview we had with him last week. This is what Bayard shared with us.
Why was it important to tell your story to the world?
I have ridden at my ranch, in Africa, India, India and South America with several thousand people and told them many of the stories in this book during rides, at meals or at the cocktail hour. Many of them told me I really should put all that in a book. They encouraged me strongly and told me that I had had an unusual variety of interesting and extraordinary experiences which would make a fascinating book. When I was too old to ride and do any strenuous physical activity I wanted to find an activity which would challenge me and keep me busy. I enjoy writing and it has given me great pleasure to relive these events as I write them down.
What are three top things that you learned at Yale that you applied in the world throughout your life?
At Yale I developed fluency in French and a love for foreign languages. French wss often indispensable to my CIA work and it has helped greatly with our dude ranch success. Through my secret society activities I learned to talk engagingly to a group. I developed friendships with some wonderful people like Jack Downey who have enriched my life and given me entrees and ideas.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be part of the CIA, especially during the cold war. During that time, you were assigned to Europe, the Congo, and Iran. Which of those three unique places brings back the most memories and why?
I have more memories of Europe because I lived there longer and my experiences were multi faceted. It was there that I delved deeply into the rich cultural, literary and culinary aspects of life in France, Germany and Poland.
After your riding accident were you ever worried that you would never ride again and if so, how did you overcome the thoughts that this might be over for your life on a horse?
The thing that kept me going after my riding accident more than anything else was the hope that I would recover
If you had to choose between having dinner with either T.E. Lawrence or Teddy Roosevelt, who would you pick and more so what is one question that you ask them over drinks?
This is a very tough choice. I would ask Lawrence what he thought about the post war betrayal of the promises made to the Arabs. I would have asked Roosevelt what his priorities would have been if he had been reelected.
Get your copy of the ‘Fisherman, Rancher, Horseman, Spy: True Stories of a Life Well-Lived’.