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John le Carre: The Pinnacle of Spycraft


With the release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I’ve recently gotten back into reading John le Carre’s books. I had already loved and greatly enjoyed Tinker Tailor and its two sequels The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. To be honest I definitely did feel the movie did the book justice it was just to intricate to be summed up in 2 hours, but hats off to them for trying.Since the movie I’ve read two more of his books.

The first A Perfect Spy. This book delves into why Magnus Pym went into the intelligence business and also why he disappeared from that world. Unlike most spy stories this isn’t a true thriller, it is much more a psychological exploration of the character of Pym and is told through a few different voices and we get to see how Pym views himself, how his wife saw him and even through his boss Jack Brotherhood’s perspective. All of this interpretations are slightly and subtly different. With this novel you are left with no doubts as to why le Carre is trumpeted as bringing spy novels into the ranks of literature instead of just fiction.
The book also apparently carries a semi-autobiographical themes as le Carre had a similar upbringing and was brought into the service in similar way.


A Perfect Spy
by John le Carre
ISBN:978-0143119760

The other book by him I just read was The Tailor of Panama. These two books were about as different as could be. The Tailor of Panama was about an ex-con turned tailor getting black mailed to spy on his clients. The tone is much lighter and felt comedic. The book was a ton of fun and is certainly perfect for a day at the beach or for a flight.

The Tailor of Panama
by John le Carre
ISBN: 978-0345420435

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Operation Mincement a review



The last book I reviewed was Winston’s War, a delightful novel of political corruption prior to WWII, once I finished the book I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into a historical account of the war. This lead me to Operation Mincement.

This book tells the story of a brilliant plan devised by British Intelligence to fool the Nazi war machine. I can safely tell you that the plan centers around a dead vagrant in commandeered military uniform carrying fake military plans and a few fraudulent love notes. This body is set in the ocean where the tides will bring the corpse to occupied enemy shores, and point the Nazis in the wrong direction.

The plan may seem a little far-fetched and perhaps it is, after all Operation Mincement was originally the brain child of one Ian Fleming an officer in Navy Intelligence but whose fame comes from authoring the James Bond Novels. I would say more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil how such a genius plot can come together and then miraculously stay together.

This is a fabulous tale the true and outrageous implementation of proper spycraft, and how a deadman easily makes the best of double agents.

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory        by Ben Macintyre
published by Broadway
ISBN-978-0307453280

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Non-Fiction

 

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