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The Charm School

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  30,964 ratings  ·  1,307 reviews
No coração da Rússia, um grupo de jovens vestidos informalmente está a aprender um tipo diferente de lição. Os universitários sentados em torno de um tabuleiro de jogo não estão a descontrair no complexo universitário: são jovens agentes do KGB que frequentam a Escola de Espiões e estão a melhorar o seu inglês.

Quando um jovem turista vai em auxílio de um desconhecido numa
Paperback, 816 pages
Published 2000 by Time Warner (first published April 1st 1988)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,964 ratings  ·  1,307 reviews

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Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Approximately twenty to twenty-five years (lets say from about 1986-1994) ago I was a big fan of Nelson DeMille.I would purchase his newest novels when they appeared on the shelves and I searched for his older novels (pre-1986) in my favorite used bookstores. Eventually I changed and DeMille's books changed and I drifted away,but the fond memories remained.

The Charm School was one of my favorites.I read it in 1989 when I was twenty-one. I remember it being an intelligent and observant novel wit
Dec 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ten reasons why this book is garbage :-

01. The entire unfortunate meeting between Greg and Dodson suspends belief. These two characters add nothing to the plot except contributing to its convolution.
02. We know why Sam is in love with the heroine but the reciprocation of that is not explained.
03. The reasons given for endangering Lisa in a spy mission is ludicrous, and may be the biggest gaffe of all.
04. Lisa's interest in the peasants of Yablonka is forced and nobody sane would buy it. It's jus
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
When a young American tourist (Gregory Fisher) picks up a U.S. POW on the run while touring Russia, (in his Pontiac Grand Am) the excitement begins and doesn't stop.

This intense and fast-moving spy thriller brings the evil of the Soviet Union to life during the Cold War with well-defined characters, loads of KGB treachery and a horror of a secret deep in the woods.

Perhaps a little wordy at times, and I did not care much for the female protagonist, but the brave Colonel Hollis and his sarcastic w

Cautious Reader
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is one of those that you wish could be made into a good movie. Oh wait a second… have you see a new TV series The Americans? I bet the idea for The Americans came from The Charm School. You know… the idea of Russian spies infiltrating the US, pretending to be Americans? Scared already? By the way, The Americans is one clever TV show that is such a rarity in our modern TV world.

If you like spy novels, you might love The Charm School. I am not a big fan of anything spies related. Unless
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
A spy-mystery from Demille, when Demille was a younger writer still developing his sarcastic wit. Even then, he could make a seemingly improbable story believable and highly entertaining. For anyone over 40 who remembers the tail-end of the long and mistrust-filled Cold War, this book will resonate.

As usual, DeMille weaves an imaginative story involving characters you love, spies in the late 1980's, the American Embassy in Moscow, a bit of Russian history, Vietnam MIAs, a training school for Sov
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
2.5 but deserves to be rounded down to 2 rather than up to 3; my first DeMille book and convinced me to NEVER read him again.

This is a harsh rating for a relatively well written book; for pulp, the use of language and research doesn't get much better than this. However, the author (and his self importance and conceit), the characters, the characterization of the USSR, the work's long winded-ness, and its portrayal of relationships annoyed me so much as to push my rating over the edge.

#1: It real
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-fluff
Were any of you even born in 1988? Somebody asked me about smart, fun, beach-books this week, and this is one of my all time favorites. The Charm School is an old school (ha!) spy thriller I first read in 1990 and which zombied me into a rabid lifelong fan of all the thrillers that master Nelson DeMille cranks out, always full of non-fictional detail that makes the novels seem very realistic. Before 9/11, he wrote a book where a jet liner with a terrorist in control ominously heads towards JFK a ...more
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot begin to guess how many times I have read this book; a conservative guess would be a dozen. This is one of the very few books that I could reread immediately upon finishing. This is a book about the cold war, set in Moscow and featuring a plot twist so amazing that in its setting it would have been horrifying. In 2017 you will recognize it to some degree as the the plot of the show "The Americans"

The story begins with a young American who has decided to spend his post MBA vacation driv
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is one doozy of a spy novel! Especially for those of us who grew up during the Cold War and remember how mistrustful we were of the Russkies.

I read this in print many years ago and just recently listened to the audio version. I've read several of this author's novels in the John Corey series, but this stand alone trumps them all. I believe it was his first novel (??), and I think it's his best.

Sam Hollis and Lisa Rhodes work at the American embassy in Moscow. They stumble upon information
Kate Woods Walker
Dec 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Turgid exposition that describes every plodding step our hero makes, hamhanded propaganda, one cardboard woman who would be right at home on Mickey Spillaine's lap, Soviet villains who display every Reagan-era leitmotif Americans were conditioned to despise (until we turned the tables in the Bush era and became the torturing, anti-due process monsters we once fought)--what's not to loathe about this book?

Author Nelson DeMille did manage to create a bit of mounting suspense, with some nifty wri
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 starts. The Charm School is a good roller coaster ride. Set the the late 1980's Soviet Union when spying and espionage were going full force. Starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the end. Full of surprises and kept my interest throughout.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
I don't think I've given one star before but this book was such a disappointment I can't possibly do anything else. I've read and enjoyed a couple of other thrillers by this author, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and persisted with this stinker -- but my perseverance was not rewarded. I realize it was written in the late 1980s, but even so the evil Russians and the noble Americans (complete with flaws of course, since shucks, nobody's perfect)were caricatures from a comic book in the 195 ...more
Roman Kurys
I have never read anything written by Nelson DeMille before and if we are completely honest I have never even heard of Nelson DeMille before. Funny thing is this book was a GoodReads recommendation to me after I have finished LeCarre’s “Spy Who Came from the Cold” novel.

I said, why not!

Here’s a secret: I don’t read a ton of thrillers. Not for any particular reason, just have a very busy “To Read” list, so I just chug along following it. When I get the urge to be a rebel and veer off course, I u
Casey Wheeler
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Charm School by Nelson DeMille which is published by Grand Central Publishing . I have posted a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I read this book as it was recommended to me by my wife who read it years ago. I have read one other book by Nelson DeMille - The Cuban Affair.

This book, like The Cuban Affair, is based on conspiracy theories that took place during and following th
Jennifer Lane
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago and found it so suspenseful that I couldn't put it down. The Charm School is a hidden "camp" in Russia where captured Americans are forced to teach KGB agents how to act American so as to blend in and spy in the U.S. Nelson DeMille is one of my favorite authors and he weaved a chilling action story taking place in the heart of the Cold War. I need to read this again!
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very long story that left me unsatisfied at the end. It's quite scary to think that something like this could actually happen in Russia. Rating this at middle-of-the-road with 5 out of 10.
Welcome to Mrs. Ivanova's Charm School, a top secret "facility" where they teach Russian spies to pass themselves off as Americans to even a real American. Then off to the US of A with a fake identity (Non-Russian, of course) where they would live as American citizens and would pass on the state secrets to their homeland and gradually, would get a virtual hold on the entire country. Who would teach them? The MIAs (missing in action) from the Vietnam War who were captured and flown illegitimately ...more
Alfred Haplo
Recommended for people who:

-Are existing DeMille fans
-Love the premise in the TV series, “The Americans”
-Love Demille's Up Country (2002) based in after-war Vietnam (different country, different enemy, less firepower but similar character composition, emotionally more compelling. A favorite).
-Are not deterred by 650 to 800 pages (depending on edition) but a gripping, fast read nonetheless
-Like Cold War espionage, thriller spy stuff circa early 80’s
-Enjoy witty dialogues laced with sarcasm, some
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it
After finishing the book, I've decided I liked it... It's another one of those "takes forever to get somewhere" kind of reads. Overall it's good but s l o w. There is a lot of superfluous text that made me skim through paragraphs (and pages) just to get to a pertinent part. It left me wishing it were condensed, moved faster and focused on the plot rather than adding so much needless information. I felt it was about 100 pages too long. The first 200 pages were painfully slow...but once the plot r ...more
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
* One of the last Cold War novels of the Cold War period. Published in 1988, the book, with its POW/MIA theme--and its setting in a mighty USSR--is situated more comfortably in the decade of Rambo than in the political reality of the late eighties/early nineties. In '89, the Berlin Wall came down and in '91, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. In this context, it's amusing, in a way, and quite impossible to take seriously. Fortunately, this is fiction and none of that really matters. Exce ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Jun 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Nelson DeMille, a versatile author whose Long Island adventure yarns make good reading, is proud of The Charm School, pointing out in an introduction that it has been in print since 1988. The setting is the Soviet Union of that era. Colonel Sam Hollis, an attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow, is in fact a spy. Ill-advisedly - not to say improbably - his attraction for Lisa Rhodes, a member of the Information Staff, leads him to allow her to become his espionage side-kick. They investigate a myste ...more
Arun Divakar
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Espionage stories set during the premise of the cold war are probably the most alluring of all backdrops that thriller writers can think of. Two of the world's super powers while in all external appearances behaved like bosom buddies hid daggers beneath their smiles and behind closed rooms plotted how to outwit each other. While this was going on the world would have lived in perennial trepidation of an impending holocaust. But then in 1991, the USSR vanished and the soviet bloc suddenly ceased ...more
R.L. Anderson
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Cold War thrillers ever! A real page turner that I couldn't put down. Also very educational, as it describes details of the lives of American diplomats working in a US embassy in a hostile (at the time) nation, the old Soviet Union. One little detail that sticks in my mind is the mention that US diplomats are some of the most patriotic Americans you could ever hope to meet--but yet they are just not "into" the popular culture. Hmmmmm.... That sounds strange, doesn't it? Well--the ...more
I've read the most of the John Corey series which is also by Demille, and whilst reading The Charm School, you'd never know it was written by the same author. It's one of his older books, but it had me guessing and turning the pages until the very end. The Charm School takes place in Russia during the final days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, where an American tourist stumbles upon a top-secret Russian installation known as Miss Ivanova's Charm School, where Russians and former Vietnam PO ...more
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The unlikely premise of this thriller is so scary and diabolical that it draws you into the book like a magnet. What if there was a school in Russia that trained Russians how to be Americans? What if those "Americans" were mainstreamed into our society to "report back" to Russia? What if the instructors @ this supposed "Charm School" were POWs from the Vietnam War? This is a 536 page book that I could not put down. I loved the fact that the characters' behaviors were impossible to predict. Also, ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
What an American wet dream!
0 stars for character development, 0 stars for realism, 0 stars for story-telling, 1 star for the idea of a Charm school which I did find interesting.
☼♄Jülie 
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my most favorite books ever. It was my introduction to espionage and romantic suspense. A real thriller that should stand the test of time.
Natalia UN
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E o fericire să găsești o carte de peste 700 de pagini care sa nu te plictisească nici o secundă.
Acțiunea se petrece la Ambasada SUA din Moscova in anii '80 când relațiile ruso-americane erau reci ca gheața. Agenți secreți, CIA, KGB se tot iau la trântă ca să vadă cine din ei e mai tare. In mijlocul unei păduri de pin este un "stat în stat" unde se educă cetăteni ruși ca aceștia să devină mai târziu americani cu acte în regulă. Desigur se descrie cultura rusă, si oamenii de această naționalitat
DNF 9 hrs into the audio. Way too boring to keep my interest. There was no way I could listen to 15 more hours.
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The Charm School - What's with the high ratings? 58 283 Feb 14, 2018 12:12AM  
suitable for pre-teens? 6 32 Oct 26, 2017 10:38PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The Charm School Review by Julia Joseph 1 8 Aug 05, 2013 09:48AM  
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille, then moved with his parents to Long Island. He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School, where he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army where he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the United S
“Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” 1 likes
“never ceased to amaze him how a discredited philosophy and a repressive nation still attracted idealists.” 0 likes
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