As the child of a former OSS officer and CIA officer, I found this glimpse into British covert operations in the war-time US fascinating. There are so many threads to this story that it can be easy to lose track of who's who, however. I really enjoyed the portrait of Texas newspaper magnate, Charles Marsh, an intensely interesting character who should have his own biography. He plays a larger role in Dahl's life than many of the other names you will see in reviews (ex: Ian Fleming,Claire Booth Luce, etc.). The "what happened next" section is somewhat truncated, as it should be. I suspect that for Dahl and the others involved in the BSC, it was difficult to create a second act for their lives.
This is a concise telling of a rather unknown entity that operated in the US beginning in the early years of the war. Many little interesting tidbits of history. A little too much focus on Wallace, FDR's vice president and not enough on the daily workings of the unit. The author covers a lot of territory and you are left wanting more depth in some areas. Fun and easy listen and a new perspective on Britin, our "friend"
This book was engrossing, educational and entertaining. I learned so much about the relations between Britain and the US during WWII, the inner workings of the White House, and the fascinating persona of Roald Dahl. He was an intriguing, mulit-dimensional person who lived a storybook life as he was writing his own fiction. The references to Ian Flemming and LBJ were interesting as well.
Narrative makes the world go round.
--it's not so bad a book that Prebble had to rush through it - but my download (Enhanced format) was read at too brisk a pace. Since this is easy listening history, that pace detracted from the enjoyment of the listen.
I suspect those who know much about the period will quibble over details, but for me this was an entertaining look at propagnada making and the types who find themselves spinning it - more relevant an industry today than ever. This was better listening than most spy stories and the only violence is verbal, committed against oponnents' spin.
Couldn't stop listening to this fascinating true-life tale of espionage by the British in the United States--politics, Hollywood, James Bondian goings on--amazing. I learned so much from this book, but it was non-stop thrills all the way. Bought the print version as well and will read it a second time. Reader, by the way, was perfect for the content.
This just describes what Dahl and people around him did, all of it, it doesn't seem to give you any pointers on what is important. It just drones on. It's not so much a book as a giant report. We'll, that is too harsh, but it was a rather frustrating listen. Couldn't finish.
I was torn between giving the story 3 and 4, only because it dragged in places and went off in several tangents. In the end, I decided on 4 because for history buffs, the story is an important chapter in U.S.-British relations. There are times when you feel like Dahl is "the most interesting man in the world" as the commercial says, and there are other times when you believe he stumbled and charmed his way along for much of his life. He, not to mention the others, was certainly an interesting character. There is no doubt about that. The reader, Simon Prebble, is excellent. Good enough that, when Audible recommended "The Irregulars" after I finished "The Day of the Jackal," I gave it a try when I saw that Prebble read this one too. This is a worthwhile piece of history and I recommend it.
there were not any characters in this book. Or, more correctly, there were characters but they never spoke directly enough for us to know their voices it was all narrated what they did and said.
The book has a lot of info but it is written like a social calendar not like a book on the amazing, creative and daring activities of the "basker street irregulars." True most spy activities are probably not exciting, but unless you enjoy hours and hours of listening to what parties one man went to listed out then you will not enjoy this book. Also, this book focuses on one man and touched briefly on many of the others, but even after listening to the book for 8 hours the character was flat and dull. I was also often was confused about when the activities took place. I could not keep a time line. I would often think we were months or years a head of when the actual event being described took place which was most disconcerting. A very thorough review of the facts, but one that is hard to get into.
Roald Dahl's intriguing career is reviewed in this excellent book. I was fascinated by how this 'childrens author' was connected to the political elite during the most tumultuous period of modern history and how famous many of his then colleagues became.
Including 007 author Ian Fleming and ad-man David Ogilvy.
Simon Prebble's voice and style are perfect match to this novel making it a joy to listen.