Among them were writers Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and the flamboyant Canadian industrialist turned professional saboteur William Stephenson, known by the code name "Intrepid", upon whom Fleming would later base his fictional M16 agent James Bond. Richly detailed and carefully researched, Conant's narrative uses never-before-seen wartime letters, diaries and interviews to create a fascinating, lively account of deceit, double dealing and moral ambiguity - all in the name of victory.
©2008 Jennet Conant; (P)2008 HighBridge Company.
"A thoroughly engrossing story, one Conant tells exceptionally well." (Publishers Weekly)
"Reads like a classic spy novel....With this excellent history of personalities and politics during World War II, Conant adds successfully to her previous books that have made vivid the war's background players. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Simon Prebble, fastidiously pukka in his accent, has a fine 'top-secret' voice, shaded with condescension and understatedly urgent. Coming from him, the expression 'rumor mill' sounds especially insidious, and the deeds he describes - 'eavesdropping and peering over people's shoulders,' forgery, political subversion and general backstabbing - seem wonderfully dastardly." (Washington Post Book World)
Wrapped up Dahl's life rather quickly in the end.
Yes, fairly good given the large number of characters with minimal parts.
I did have to google several people mentioned just to see what they looked like given the descriptions in the book.
I would have enjoyed the story more if there actually had been a story. I felt I was listening to a long list of people who showed up at places and hoped something would happen. I was rather disappointed that it read more like a thesis than popular press.
I loved the insight into Washington during the War. My parents having grown up in the city, I am constantly fascinated by the stories they tell about all the goings on and how Washington transformed from a sleepy Southern town to the city it is today.
The discussions about the Wallace Vice Presidency was absolutely fascinating. I had not realized what a concern that he caused to the British government.
I was moved most by the post war period. It seems that the people in the book were constantly chasing the life they had during the war.
I really enjoyed this. I found it very interesting and entertaining to hear about Dahl's life. The literary figure seems so divorced from real man.
The book is a good view of life in Washington before the U.S. entered the war and what gadabouts, like Roald Dahl were up to on behalf of the British government, trying to gather info and influence the U.S. to enter the war. It is centered around Dahl, is almost his biography and the 'gossip' includes people such as FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, Tyrone Power and Patricia Neal. I found it sometimes boring, but at other times engaging. Roald Dahl comes across as a very brave, charming, talented and perhaps not totally likable fellow.
A house guest of a Texas Publisher/ power broker named Marsh, a direct line to FDR and Elanor through a house guest named Princes Sophie and courting a congress woman by the name of Claire B Luce. A conduit to Churchill and insider on the delicate balance of post war aviation. You would think the character is fictional. Instead he is a writer of great children's fictional literature who is 6'6", educated in England with a Norwegian mother and four older sisters. This is a great read the first time and even better the second time with Simon Prebble as narrator. Prebble does many of the Dick Frances Mysteries and is well suited to this complex mystery of a man.
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