Vanished resurrects Cold War era anxieties

Vanished is a Cold War era political thriller that will sound familiar to readers who grew up in that era. White House Press Secretary Eugene Culligan relates the events. One election year, a good, personal friend of President Roudebush vanishes from Burning Tree Golf Club. Investigators learn Steve Greer left the country by a circuitous […]

A Small Town in Germany is a keeper, not a thriller

A Small Town in Germany is a complex, Cold War era mystery that totters on the edge of a thriller. In Germany, “an amorphous Movement* of popular resentments, popular protest and occasional violence” threatens Britain’s desperate attempt to gain admittance to the Common Market. As if that weren’t enough, Leo Harting, a Second Secretary at […]

Topaz digs the dirt on Russian disinformation campaign

Topaz is a political thriller on a hot topic of the sixties: Russia’s attempt to put missiles in Cuba. As a dictator threatens the US with nuclear attack and the US investigates the Russians’ disinformation tactics in the 2016 election, Topaz seems timely again. Topaz by Leon Uris McGraw-Hill, [1967] 341 p. 1964 bestseller #4. […]

Walking dead man reveals The Double Image

Passing through Paris on his way to Greece, historian John Craig runs into one of his Columbia professors, a former Auschwitz inmate on his way back to the states after testifying at the trial of Nazis in Frankfurt. The Double Image by Helen MacInnes Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966. 309 pp. My grade: B. Over […]

Egos Are Deadly in The Looking Glass War

John Le Carré’s The Looking Glass War is a tale of Cold War espionage undertaken by a World War II military spy agency. Le Carré focuses on what makes the characters tick rather than in what they blow up. The Looking Glass War by John Le Carré [David John Moore Cornwell] Coward-McCann, 1965. 320 pages. 1965 bestseller […]

Armageddon Reveals the Price of Building Peace

Armageddon is a sprawling novel set as World War II ends and the Soviets move to turn Europe into Communist satellites. The themes Leon Uris raises are as familiar as today’s news, but easier to examine with a degree of objectivity in a 75-year-old setting. War-weary Americans want to pull out of Germany and let […]

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold Still Thrills

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a tense, gritty thriller in which even the good guys can’t tell the other good guys from the bad guys. John le Carré sets the opening scene at the Berlin Wall. British operative Alex Leamas watches helplessly as his best agent is killed attempting to escape […]