I am an avid eclectic reader.
I have read a number of Jeffrey Archer books over the years and also knew he was a member of the House of Lords and a politician but was unaware he was sent to prison. Like many of the other readers I looked up to learn about his crimes. This book is book one of a series of four books in the Prison Diary series. I found it interesting and was surprised at his treatment by the other prisoners and staff. The day to day life of prison was enlightening as well as how many were there because of drugs. I could understand Archers point when he would write attention Mr. Home Secretary even though it could be considered self serving. I also noted how many of the prisoners said they would just take their punishment and get on with life. I am impressed that on his release that Archer is busy campaigning for prison reform. Martin Jarvis did a great job reading this book. Enjoyed the book and learned a lot.
I was thoroughly engrossed in this book, beginning to end. It provided insight into the behind-the- scenes working of those we entrust with our most important political and military secrets. Harold “Kim” Philby (1912-1988) during the 1940’s and 50’s was an officer in the U.K. secret intelligence service (MI6). All the time he was spying for the Soviet Union remitting many damaging Anglo-American secrets to Moscow. Hundreds died because of his treachery.
Ben Macintyre tells the story of Kim Philby a member of the British upper class. His father was linguist who became an advisor of King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. Philby became a Communist while at Cambridge University. He married Litzi Friedman a Communist of Hungarian Jewish descent. It is claimed she was the one to recruit him as a Soviet spy. Macintyre suggest that although Philby was a sincere Communist, the impelling motive for his treachery was conceit. Cheating people made him feel clever. He betrayed anti-Soviet insurgents in Albania, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia and Ukraine, causing many deaths. The KGB defector Anatoly Golitsyn provided information against Philby in 1962. He made a confession and then escaped to Russia in 1963.
Ben Macintyre was a journalist with the Times of London. He conducted an enormous amount of research and found new sources of information in the office diaries of MI5’s deputy Chief Guy Liddell which became available in 2012. The book ends with an afterword by John le Carrie who worked in MI6 during the same time as Philby. The book reads like a spy novel but it is a solidly researched true story. John Lee does an excellent job narrating the book.
This book is written in an academic style and does a good job of attempting to present only provable facts. It is obvious a great deal of research went into the book. King covers Floyd's life from early childhood to his death on October 22, 1934 in East Liverpool, Ohio. King cover Floyd's life of crime and down plays his so called acts of paying off mortgage's of poor farmers and helping out with food to poor women and children. The newspaper apparently like to show the relationship of Floyd to Jessie James and Robin Hood. The role of Melvin Purvis in the killing of Floyd is covered as well as the feud between Purvis and head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover. King outlines how this period of lawless from 1929 to 1934 brought about the formation of the FBI and the rise to power of J. Edgar Hoover. In covering, in depth, Floyd's crimes, he also covers the Kansas City Massacre and other well known criminals of the time. Overall this is an interesting story of one man's life and the crimes of the early 1930's. Another interesting book would be to compare this era of crime to the current crimes. Jack Chekijian does a good job narrating the book.