I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book reads more like a spy novel than a non-fiction book. It grabbed my attention right off and held it throughout the book.
In June 1997 Judge James Cacheris sentenced Harold James Nicholson, the highest ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage to 23 years in prison. He was placed in a federal prison in Oregon where his family lived. He was arrested and convicted while in prison, again for espionage for running his own son. He had another eight years added to his sentence.
Nicholson had recruited his youngest son Nathan to carry messages to his Russian contact and bring home the money they paid him. Bryan Denson is a reporter with The Oregonian newspaper. He drew upon FBI reports, court documents, military records, personal correspondence and hundreds of hours of interviews (with Nathan) for this award winning book.
The book is full of fascinating details of the clock and dagger techniques of the KGB and CIA operatives, double agents and spy catchers. The author tells the story of the Nicholson family and what happened to it when betrayed by the father.
I found this a most interesting story. Jason Culp does an excellent job narrating the book.
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.
This book was written in 1929 as a memoir of his service in World War One. The book covers his early life, his time at Charterhouse School where he was mercilessly bullied, the war and the post war period up to writing the book in 1929.
Like many young men Graves enlisted within days of the outbreak of the Great War with no understanding of what war was like. He enlisted as an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He fought in France—the Somme, Souchez, Bethune, Loos, Cambria and Cuinchy—and was seriously wounded and discharged in 1918. In January 1926 Graves, Nancy and their four children set out for Egypt where Graves was to take up an appointment as professor of English in Cairo. In 1929 he divorced his wife and set up house in Deya, Majorca with the American Poet Laura Riding. Graves book “Goodbye To All That” was published the same year as Erick Maira Remarque’s “All Quiet On the Western Front.” Graves was a well known poet and he also wrote poems about WWI as did his friend and fellow soldier Siegfried Sassoon. Graves is best known for his book “I Claudius.”
What makes this such a good memoir about the war is that it is not bogged down with ideologies or politics. He presents what it was like to live day to day in the trenches (as an officer). His vivid account of life and death in the trenches is haunting. While there is obviously much fear, discomfort and horror, there is also lots of comedy and camaraderie. Graves wants to show what WWI was really like, no sentimentalizing it or giving it a meaning he didn’t feel. It was a horrific, life changing experience and that was all.
I had just finished reading “The Storm of Steel” by Ernst Junger. Junger’s memoir is similar to that of Graves in that they both are about reportage. Graves included information about his fellow soldiers, Junger did not, both books tell about the daily life of a soldier. I find it interesting to read about the same battle they both fought in but on opposite side such as the Somme and Cambria. Between the two books I have seen World War One from both viewpoints of the average German and English soldier. Both books reveal a unique, honest and incredibly powerful depiction of the realities of life as a soldier, and of the true effects of fighting on those who experienced it. Martin Jarvis did a good job narrating the book. I recommend this book as a must read for the WWI 100th anniversary.