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THE EMPEROR AND THE SPY Kindle Edition
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|Length: 540 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Apart from the incredible facts of Mashbir's life, the book is well-written and enjoyable to read. I recommend it to everyone!
Mashbir's heroism deserves to be in the limelight and warrants further investigation. One is reminded of T. E. Lawrence during his Arabia days. The adventures in The Emperor and The Spy are as dramatic as those of James Bond. Ian Fleming and later 007 screenwriters might've been inspired by Mashbir's deeds were they known. More likely the author Stan Katz drew from the memes of our day for what spies do, as he exercised his poetic license. Without direct access to the memoirs, it's difficult to judge the truth of the tale. It's certainly a great read, satisfyingly portraying justice being served, tragic in other parts, and gives one hope for what people with good intentions can achieve.
The book is fast-paced yet thoroughly researched. I compare the depth and factual detail of Katz's writing with those of Wilbur Smith and Dick Francis. You'll appreciate the dates, the weaving of concurrent events, and the nuances only an expert in the field can convey. Like Frederick Forsyth's books, the international intrigue with imminent national security threats keep one in suspense and there are a few surprising historical facts that provide insights to the momentous events in two World Wars. Katz's narrative subtly demonstrates the pivot points around which the arc of history may have been so very different.
Perhaps more important than its entertainment value, this book brings the possibility of understanding and forgiveness for those who suffered in the Far East theatre of World War II. I'd like to see the author bring out more - perhaps in subsequent books? - of Tokugawa and his actions that mitigated the militancy of Japanese nationalists. The lessons that we could learn from great men cannot be overstated.
If you're not a historian (neither am I, having had my last formal history class in 1978 as a 16-year old), you'll appreciate Katz's timeline available at www.TheEmperorAndTheSpy.com. The photographs and ancillary documents are especially illuminating.
The Kindle edition gives the reading time at over 10 hours. This easy-to-read book can be finished in much less time. However, I'd advise a more leisurely pace, or a reread as one would a classic. It's deliciously epic.
In the beginning I found the read a bit slow. Soon it picked up and did not let up to the end. At times I wondered what were the facts and what is the fiction, so I did some research on the character. I saw that Stan had incorporated mainly fact and embellished it with natural flowing dialogue which showed great imagination and his ability in writing this story as if he were Sidney’s personal secretary sitting in every room with him and on each adventure taking notes, as I became the proverbial fly on the wall. Stanley made history come alive for me while opening my mind not only to a forgotten humanitarian but also to historical fiction. Stan’s writing skill is evident in this work as is the long years he put in to making this book a reality, including analyzing the documentation he obtained, which in the end produced a tour de force of historical fiction.
I have wholeheartedly recommended it to my wife and friends who will now read it, and I strongly recommend it to you. I think you will agree with me and other reviewers here that this book is well worth the read and it should be made into a motion picture for the sake of the memory of Sidney Mashbir, so that all should realize what this man tried to accomplish, did accomplish, and the effort he put in to doing so.