This is a well-told and highly relevant exploration of the shadowy world of black market arms trading, focussing on one particular case. It was so well written, it puts the issue of stealing high-tech military secrets and hardware front and center as an important issue of our time. The technical details are easy to handle, set amongst the rich characters and riveting storyline. Apparently, it is going to be adapted into a movie, but I highly recommend reading it anyway, as the minor characters and rich contextual details won't make it into that format. Most exciting, scary and fascinating book I've read for ages. It fits well with Manhunt: the Ten Year Search for Bin Laden by Peter Bergen, as they both cover enormously relevant recent history through recounting the capture of one individual. Excellent storytelling of real, but covert, events.
As I love the spy genre, I'm always happy to find authors who explore it. I can't say I love the 2 Charles Cumming books I've read, but I am happy they were there and I'll read more. Thinking about A Colder War, there's something missing and I'm not sure what it is, but overall, I wanted to keep listening and some sections were exciting. The characters seem somewhat believable and the less-than-heroic lead character is no more annoying than many others.
The main thing about these books is clearly how endearing the dog is and what it's like to see things from his point of view. It stays with me for days, thinking I understand dogs especially well afterwards. But there was enough story to keep me interested here, which I didn't expect when I started. It's so sweetly written and perfectly narrated by Jim Frangione. It's the second of the series I've read and I'm sure every now and then, I'll pick up other ones. The titles alone make them tempting!
This is great storytelling, with just the right amount of detail and well told. I hadn't really realized how interesting each part of it would be, peeking behind the scenes at every stage of the process. I found the coverage balanced, not favouring any particular outlook or presidency. It IS a great success of the Obama presidency and, even though I don't support him overall, we all can celebrate successes by any president, hopefully. After all, we're all Americans! (I'm actually Canadian, but you know what I mean).
Women especially, haven't you wondered how his wives fit into all of this, what kind of people they were, how they lived? In this book, you find out.
In the epilogue of the book, he relates the other threats of militant Islam besides Al Qaida, which by this point in time, after he wrote the book, have proved to be very troubling indeed. Bergen doesn't see the whole movement as a threat overall to the West, comparable to Communism or Nazism, and I hope he's right. Time only will tell. I think it's better to take it seriously though and I think the real story is NOT that Bush screwed up in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that there aren't easy answers to this threat and no president would likely have been able to 'fix' it. I think it should be clear it's a long struggle, dating perhaps from 1979, and obviously still with us.
But this book is a riveting account of every stage of this particular mission and for anyone even slightly interested, a very enjoyable book!
I enjoyed the Spy Wore Red many years ago and one other of her books, so I thought this might be an almost-as-good additional journey into her world. It wasn't. There isn't much of a story and I'm not continuing with it. I should have trusted the other reviews!
This book doesn't rate among top espionage writing, in my opinion, but if you like the genre or the topic, it's worth a listen. It's based on the Cambridge 5 experience, but the focus is very much on the present, showing what could have been if there had been a sixth man. John Lee is impeccable, of course, doing a wide range of accents and characters so well and for me, he lifts any book up from his delivery. I'll probably check out other Charles Cumming books, but not be jumping on them immediately.
I wrote a review already and it disappeared, so forgive me not working too hard at it. This was a very good depiction of the early days of the Russian Revolution from an unsympathetic side.....the opposite of "Reds", one could say. It was a terrific story with startlingly dangerous feats being attempted in the very early days of British spying. We forget that the fear of a worldwide communist revolution was justified at the time, which also contributed to the rise of fascism. The characters and stories are vivid and fascinating and with some in central Asia, resonate with us today. How amazing that the Soviets wanted to make use of the highly religious Muslims for their own purposes!
This is my third time writing this, with the first 2 attempts being inexplicably lost. All I want to say is that despite lots of murders, this book, like the others, never disturbs too much plus provides wonderful escapist fun up in the Highlands with Hamish Macbeth.
In the hands of Ben Macintyre, I think any story would be interesting, but this was so outstanding it was as if I had heard nothing about Kim Philby before. Aided by John Lee's perfect narration and the seal of approval from John le Carre, this book takes you into the private world of Kim Philby, as much as any book can, with wonderful results. Ben Macintyre is a terrific writer, conveying the subtleties of the British secret service in that time period, as well as the very real damage Philby's subterfuge brought on those both close to him and afar. Best book I've read for awhile!
These books have been great escapist fun and I'm going to find it hard to finish the series. There are plenty of murders, but none so real that it is disturbing. It was interesting to see that nasty brother and sister again with the plot of their lives moving forward in a satisfying way. This time, I found I began to care about Hamish's love life, which isn't a wise choice.
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