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The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – June 8, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (June 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037575959X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759598
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With the author of Red Gold and other smart thrillers acting as editor, this should be a Furst-class anthology. Selections date back to Joseph Conrad and Maxim Gorky.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Furst, one of our best modern espionage writers (Kingdom of Shadows), brings together selections from the work of some of the genre's founders and a few of its most celebrated practitioners. This being a Modern Library edition, the emphasis is on the literary side of spy fiction, so it's no surprise to find work by everybody's highbrow division Big Three--Conrad, Greene, and le Carre-- but even with the obvious authors, Furst shows some spirit in his selections. With le Carre, for example, we don't get the expected Smiley moment but, instead, are offered the marvelous opening from the less-known but superb Russia House. Furst is very good, both in his introduction and in the blurbs that precede each selection, at pinpointing the influence on the genre of the various authors, especially such pioneers as Eric Ambler and W. Somerset Maugham, whose Ashenden, excerpted here, is often considered to have paved the way for the disenchanted spies of Greene and others. A superior anthology for anyone interested in the roots of espionage fiction. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. Now translated into seventeen languages, he is the bestselling author of Night Soldiers, Dark Star, The Polish Officer, The World at Night, Red Gold, Kingdom of Shadows, Blood of Victory, Dark Voyage, and The Foreign Correspondent Born in New York, he now lives in Paris and on Long Island.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The Book of Spies" caught my attention because it is edited by Alan Furst, who also wrote the introduction. I have been reading Furst's excellent literary novels of espionage and I was curious to read works by other authors he recommends. Furst is often compared to Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, whom I've read. But what would Furst himself select? "A Coffin for Demetrios" is the first selection and there's one from "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene, but many of the other selections are unexpected and riveting. The only one I had read was the Ambler. I ran out and bought "The Quiet American," but I'm also going to read "Tremor of Intent" by Anthony Burgess, "Under Western Eyes" by Joseph Conrad, "Ashenden" by W. Somerset Maugham (probably the most intriguing selection in the entire anthology), and "The Tears of Autumn" by Charles McCarry. In his introduction Furst notes that the date of publication is important for each selection because they are essentially political novels, tied to and shaped by a particular place and time. I was struck by the variety among these selections and although I had my favorites, I was sorry when each ended. The anthology is not a substitute for the full-length novels, but rather provides an overview of the genre and serves a guide for further reading.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of excerpts from novels by 11 different authors. Contrary to the title, they are not all about spies. Some are about revolutionaries, at least one about wartime resistance, and one is about two men stranded on a road at night in Vietnam. The point in time is not always clear. The stories are in no particular order by chronology or subject, but are simply in alphabetic order by the authors' last names. The writing quality is mixed and some are skimable. Some seem to have too much background color and not enough story. I think the collection could have been much better considering the literature available. The best value that I obtained was identifying authors to avoid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jtq on May 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I guess I had already read some of these, and somehow expected to be enthralled by the others. I don't think short excerpts are good for these writers. They are all excellent, but these bits did not turn me on.
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