The author of two top secret stories from the Second World War turns her gaze on the fascinating story of the cream of the British spies in Washington DC who were spying on the United States. This book reveals how author Roald Dahl was a member of Churchill's infamous dirty tricks squad.
"Conant, the author of two previous books about top-secret stuff the invention of radar and the building of the atomic bomb now takes her readers behind the scenes of the clandestine British intelligence operation in Washington, D.C., during World War II. Under the general direction of the Canadian William Stephenson aka Intrepid British Security Coordination was set up to curry American support for Britain in the early days of the war. Typically, this seems to have taken the form of drinking cocktails and having affairs. The then twentysomething Roald Dahl, who had been invalided out of the RAF and was just starting to make a name for himself as a writer, was only one of a number of stellar types who became involved in this sub-rosa operation; Noel Coward and Ian Fleming also played roles. Part gossip, part history, Conant's book, though much too long, is fitfully amusing in a Vanity Fair sort of way. Most readers will skip the stuff about civil aviation and alphabet-soup agencies, however, and go straight to the gossip, of which there is plenty.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2008 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"What could be more intriguing than the young writer Roald Dahl--destined to create such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory--assigned by His Majesty's Government to Washington, D.C., as a diplomat in the spring of 1942, charged with a secret mission? Dahl's brief was to gather intelligence about America's isolationist circles (indeed, he infiltrated the infatuated Claire Boothe Luce in more ways than one) and propagandize for prompt American entry into the European war. The United States had technically been at war with Germany since December 1941. However, the U.S.'s attention was focused mainly on the Pacific theater--and such pro-German political figures as Luce and Charles Lindbergh meant to keep it that way. Dahl's most important job was to influence public opinion generally and the opinions of Washington's powerful specifically. As bestselling author Conant (Tuxedo Park) shows in her eloquent narrative, Dahl's intriguing coconspirators included future advertising legend David Ogilvy and future spy novelist Ian Fleming. Most fascinating, though, is Dahl's relationship with the great British spymaster William Stephenson, otherwise known as "Intrepid." This all boils down to a thoroughly engrossing story, one Conant tells exceptionally well. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved