JleC still has it. Some of his fans from the great Cold War days may be disappointed because they can't get over the fall of Soviet Union as story mat...moreJleC still has it. Some of his fans from the great Cold War days may be disappointed because they can't get over the fall of Soviet Union as story material.
Well Africa, emerging markets, and the new trans-national world is just as rich.
The Allies in WWII made a crucial decision for humanity and mankind. It was to return looted art to the country of origin after the war, including Ger...moreThe Allies in WWII made a crucial decision for humanity and mankind. It was to return looted art to the country of origin after the war, including Germany! Nothing of this type had ever been done before. In fact, it usually took another war or more to return cultural touchstones to the defeated. Generals Eisenhower and Marshall with President Roosevelt's backing decided on this very unusual step along with a civilian commission that had encouraged this action.
The Monuments Men, or more properly Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allied Forces in Europe (and later elsewhere) were charged with the location, cataloging, preservation, and return of looted art and the identification of important structures that if at all possible were to be saved from demolition and plundering. This included churches, historic town halls and civic building and the priceless records of European history they contained.
Author Robert Edsel has produced what is really the first major work on this topic in decades, and the first English language work of this breadth. Fine history and a living memorial to the Soldiers of the MFAA. A must read for a more complete knowledge of WWII. For any art historian this work is on the short list to appreciate that the explosion of art in the later half of the twentieth century can be laid at the feet of the few original Monuments Men and they are owed an eternal debt of thanks.(less)
A compact well assembled story combining espionage and associated intrigue with the entertainment world. The Ci...moreFirst read this many, many, years ago.
A compact well assembled story combining espionage and associated intrigue with the entertainment world. The Circus to be exact and this one is traveling behind the Iron Curtain to the U.S.S.R.(Russia for you youngsters).
There is a member of the Circus who has a special talent. His memory is eidetic. Truly a photographic memory. But how he decided to use it is the core of this story.
Unexpectedly good and has held up well. Highly recommended for an entertaining read and for spy/crime/espionage fans!
The 'read' date is approximate based on the receipt inside the front cover of the copy I have on the shelf.(less)
"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it", to take liberties with Santayana's original quote, is a very appropriate starting thought for read...more"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it", to take liberties with Santayana's original quote, is a very appropriate starting thought for readers of The Detonators.
Author Chad Millman tells in two parts the story of the sabotage of Black Tom Island in the New York Harbor on the 'Jersey Side'. This huge act of wartime sabotage, today we'd probably scream terrorism, did an incredible amount of damage, and even left an imprint on the geology of the area such that it appears that a 5+ Magnitude earthquake occurred!
The first part of the story tells of the conspirators from Germany and the U.S. who bribed guards, developed new explosive devices, and ultimately blew up a shipping depot/dock area by igniting munitions ready for shipment to war torn Europe during World War I. Diplomats, bankers, and businessmen were involved and they recruited working class German-Americans to do the actual deed. Little did they know that the British were intercepting telegrams(cables) that would haunt them after the war when financial remunerations was sought.
The second part of the book documents the war reparations efforts by Americans for the Black Tom explosion. Intriguing biographical information is included that explains the motivation of the lawyers/agents who would pursue the case for over two decades and finally come to terms with the government in Germany then being overrun by the Nazi's.
The Black Tom explosion wasn't the only act of destruction that occurred. There were dozens of factories and depots burned and bombed, but Black Tom would be the standout. In fact it was so astonishing that for some time most in the public were not only unaware of its origins, but would not believe until later that it had indeed been the act of a foreign power. It was an act of war during a time when the U.S. had been neutral.
The lessons that should have been learned took more sabotage at the beginning of WWII to remind the U.S. of what could happen again. The primary lawyer/agent in charge of the investigation in fact was charged by President Roosevelt with preventing it from happening during the Second World War. One of the controversial outcomes was internment of U.S. citizens with recent foreign origin or origin from an enemy nation!
Well documented if overly detailed in most places. Some inventiveness in possible conversation or quotation from official sources. Very intriguing biographical stories about several of the prime players in this event adds to the overall readability of this historical work. (less)
Not at all Fun with Dick and Jane! A self referencing primer instead to a new world of treache...more See Perry run. See Gail run.
See Perry and Gail betrayed
Not at all Fun with Dick and Jane! A self referencing primer instead to a new world of treacherous governmental and modern international political intrigue. Russians, Swiss, English, French, and multitude of other nationalities add their flavor to this negotiation of inevitable deceit and duplicity.
John LeCarre tells a small tale full of a variety of his signature intricacies and subtle foreshadowing of amateurs sucked into their very own moment on a great stage. One moment they the amateurs Gail and Perry, and even seasoned professionals, are not prepared to control. Desperation is a key theme driving the action of many characters leading to the bad choices that goes along with such motivation. Very English in quiet sort of way but with splashes of Slavic color and grinning evil.
Written with Le Carre's special style accented with a peacetime backdrop of international sport and the unspoken Machiavellian power associated with such recreational excess, Our Kind of Traitor is a metronomic story stepping toward a foreseeable if not still not surprising denouement. The author's use of language and mechanisms including italicization of both meaningful and meaningless passages, and of character development unlike any other make this a worthwhile stop in the realm of recreational reading.
Great powers barely imagined are at play and surely reveal their hand if only in glimpses of excess.
Who wins and who loses? It's for the reader to decide and perhaps, tell. After all,
I had read this book, who knows how long ago. It finally became very familiar about 75 pages or so in to the story.
One of those many WWII/Nazi/Occupi...moreI had read this book, who knows how long ago. It finally became very familiar about 75 pages or so in to the story.
One of those many WWII/Nazi/Occupied France spy thriller that so dominated the popular fiction market for years. A reasonably well done, though improbable, story line even in the face of various true tales that have emerged as time has passed. Another attempt to play on the real Rudolf Hess story in one way or another.
This is only a quick review from a genre that I spent many hours on planes and in airports in years past. Many of these entertaining books are worth a read for just the sake of exercising the brain when and not having to be concerned if they are ever truly 'finished'.
As a genre of popular literature, the espionage/thriller from the WWII era, has mostly faded. There are a few choice jewels from the period or a few writers whose body of work is worth looking at for the reader seeking to explore. Len Deighton probably falls in the latter category as he continued to write in this vein with success past the 'peak' of the post Cold War mania of this type of revelatory fiction. I found his book, The Ipcress File to be his best work of this type.(less)
A subtitle that should be considered by any potential reader is "The Paranoia of Stalin". The information alone in the odd way it is presented regardi...moreA subtitle that should be considered by any potential reader is "The Paranoia of Stalin". The information alone in the odd way it is presented regarding the activities of Stalin alone make this book worth investigating for those interested in this part of Russian/Soviet history.
Three stars is a higher rating than this work merits on all counts except raw information. And it is raw. Indeed this rates as one of the most poorly organized and constructed historical works of this caliber that has been released. Some editor is still talking with their therapist about how bad was the editing.
In minor defense of the author, the opening chapter details the history of the book. The method that the author Christoper Andrew has to engage in lead to much of the problem. However most historians and researchers deal with disorganized and incomplete chronicles at one time or another and rewrite a narrative that is more coherent than the original. This work in places looks to be a translation that is merely cleaned up for colloquial English acceptability. In other places there is valuable coordination of new and previously known documentation that expands greatly the knowledge in the west of the Soviet era.
The sections on Trotsky and the obsessive madness of the opponents of his philosophy is quite revealing. The violence and body count is also shocking even decades and generations later.
Read this work with a notepad and pen or many ebook marks available to be able to jump around when reading. I've been through this three times now and have yet to read it straight through. Not a general introduction to Soviet era intelligence as one needs a rigorous founding in the entire Philby affair (the real, not fictional version) before reading much of this work.
Only recommended for those who are willing to cross reference and do side reading and are not in a rush.(less)
Humor, yes there is some comic relief I suppose in this work that should not go unmentioned. Three stars are the result for this otherwise pretty good...moreHumor, yes there is some comic relief I suppose in this work that should not go unmentioned. Three stars are the result for this otherwise pretty good story.
A more scattered story than I had come to expect when first reading these works and thus not as absorbing as some of the other entries in the dark and dangerous world of agent November.
Not a starting point for the series, though none are truly sequential, this one does require a fair amount of knowledge to have been gleaned from other stories to 'hang together'. From Rita his girlfriend, to why he, Deveraux,does what he does and for whom, there is a fair amount of background that is needed to allow this story to work.
Granger may have been experimenting with elements and mechanisms to enlarge his characters. Thankfully I am of the opinion he did not pursue many in other November man episodes.
For the entire November Man series this is certainly a must read, however those who are reading one or a few of this Cold War/Spy saga you can skip this one. (less)
A journey into the paranoid, self-referential world of the Cold War espionage genre. Perhaps the finest of the November Man series.
Deveraux, the Novem...moreA journey into the paranoid, self-referential world of the Cold War espionage genre. Perhaps the finest of the November Man series.
Deveraux, the November Man, finds his opponents in the treacherous spy game are in his own organization in this tale. Granger elevates his story telling of Russian intrigue and beautiful femme fatale agents that call the agent known as November back from retirement.
With a side trip through a mental institution for wayward/dangerous/damaged spies, November hunts a mole within the mysterious and brilliantly understated 'R section' for whom he has operated.
First rate espionage thriller, if not as subtle or refined as Greene or LeCarre, Granger contributes one of the finer books of the genre' with a journalists well written style and command of the language.
A must read for all lovers of Cold War and Spy thriller stories.