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The historical events of that crucial period are well known to most of us. The end of World War II and the division of Germany into sectors by the Allies laid the groundwork for the Cold War and the rise of the OSS, a wartime branch of the American government, into one of the most powerful tools of intelligence.
The involvement of that agency in the defection of Burgess and MacLean from Britain to the Soviet Union; the Suez Canal crisis, which ended Britain's role as a superpower; the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis; the arming of rebels in Afghanistan to repel the encroaching Soviet forces; the Gulf War--all are well documented here.
All these events, which had such major consequences for our own history and that of the world, were well known to, organized by, or played out with the full cooperation of the CIA. These, as well as such minor events as defections on both sides, are the backdrop to this novel which stars a large cast of characters who we get to know as young men and women recruited while still in college. Their personal and public lives are followed as they rise through the ranks of the Company, and we know that one of them is a mole. We don't know who it is any more than the CIA does, and it will take years to unmask the traitor.
In the meantime, we have become involved not only with Littell's fictional characters, but also with some of the real people who inhabited that world: William F. Buckley Jr., G. Gordon Liddy, William Casey--and we are privy to conversations in both the Kennedy and Reagan Oval Offices.
We also know by the end of this exciting story that the fight is not always the good fight. Compromises are made, mistakes happen, and pragmatism wins out over idealism. We do not live in a perfect world, but it's the only one we have and it is that way because of the events in this book. Don't let its size deter you. This is nothing less than a stunning historical document. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If I could give it 6 stars I would, it deserves six! Robert Littell deserves the high praise he has been given for a job well done. Read morePublished 19 days ago by BIOBEAR
Should be a required read for anyone under thirty who needs a primer on history and hopefully will educate those who think the world politic can be changed by everyone sitting... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Anthony D Serva
Loooong book, end was unexpected. I love this authors work, scary as heck though!Published 1 month ago by Derrel Carter
When I'm not really involved with a book I often find myself critical of small errors or distracted by clumsy dialogue. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joan Grayson
I was fascinated by names, events the author wrote about (? fact or fiction). a A very good historical novel.Published 3 months ago by Bernard J. Bauer
I should not have this much to say after I made a purchase repeat I'm the buyer - you are lucky to get ANY response
Robert Littell has a long established reputation as a major spy novelist, which this book has done much to enhance. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jon Corelis
The reader is distracted from flat characters, dreadful dialogue, and recipe-driven plotting by many, many gross anachronisms and errors of fact.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer