#CloakandDagger2017: QUEEN OF SPIES by Paddy Hayes

This is part of my 2017 reading challenge, Cloak and Dagger, for which I’ve pledged to read all the spy books I have stacked up in my room. Read along!

25705939I was incredibly excited to dive into Queen of Spies, because I really wanted to learn about Daphne Park. To be honest, I knew nothing about her heading into this book; I really just wanted to read a book about a woman who also just so happened to be a spy. But perhaps a year or so ago, I had a friend who worked at the company that would be publishing Paddy Hayes’s book on Park and I got her to sneak me a galley.

I only just now got around to reading it, and I’ll admit that this one was a bit of a let-down. This book is dense, and packed with details that will surely fascinate those who are already fairly familiar with SIS history (or British history, at least) and the ins and outs of international relations during the Cold War. The subtitle of Queen of Spies is “Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Queen,” and though the book opens on an harrowing moment of Park in Moscow in the 50s and then dives into her childhood in Africa, Daphne Park is sometimes very difficult to find on the pages of a book supposedly about her.

Continue reading #CloakandDagger2017: QUEEN OF SPIES by Paddy Hayes

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#CloakandDagger2017: ARGO by Antonio Mendez (and Matt Baglio)

This is part of my 2017 reading challenge, Cloak and Dagger, for which I’ve pledged to read all the spy books I have stacked up in my room. Read along!


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Argo fuck yourself

As I mentioned in my introductory post to this year’s reading challenge, my parents watched Argo before I did, and then insisted I would enjoy it, too, and should sit down to watch it. Being a moody twenty-something who was stuck at home post-college graduation, I was slow to take their advice. But once I watched the movie, I was in love–with the story, with spies, and, yeah, fine, okay, maybe a little bit with Ben Affleck. And then I bought Tony Mendez’s book on the mission over the Christmas holidays and read it in two days.

Continue reading #CloakandDagger2017: ARGO by Antonio Mendez (and Matt Baglio)

#CloakandDagger2017: AVENUE OF SPIES by Alex Kershaw

This is part of my 2017 reading challenge, Cloak and Dagger, for which I’ve pledged to read all the spy books I have stacked up in my room. Read along!


9780804140058A pull quote from the New York Post on the back cover of Avenue of Spies hails it as “a true story that reads like a thriller.” I don’t quite agree with that, but it’s certainly one hell of a story.

On Friday, June 14, 1940, the Nazis moved into and occupied Paris. It wasn’t long before the tricolor flag of their republic was quickly replaced with the red, white, and black swastika of the Third Reich, signaling five years of agony for those French citizens who refused to collaborate with their enemies.

But Avenue of Spies opens years earlier, when an American doctor named Sumner Jackson served in the bloody field hospitals of World War I. It was there that he met a young Swiss nurse, Toquette, who would become his wife and mother of their only son, Phillip. The trio lived in a swanky apartment on the Avenue Foch in Paris, arguably one of the most exclusive addresses in the city, if not the world, at that time.

Continue reading #CloakandDagger2017: AVENUE OF SPIES by Alex Kershaw

Announcing #CloakandDagger2017

Because last year’s reading challenge went so well.

2017-01-15-13-47-08In the last two years or so, I’ve become entirely obsessed with the world of espionage–the tools and tricks of the trade, the history of spies, pondering what kinds of stories have yet to be declassified and shared. The options are endless.

It all started when my parents told me that they had watched “that Ben Affleck movie” and found themselves truly intrigued by it. They had rented Argo from our local library and watched it one night while I was out. I distinctly remember my dad recounting the fact that they had children putting together the shredded photos of the diplomats and office workers in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, to find out if anyone was missing. Though I hadn’t had an interest in the movie before, we sat to watch it as a family. That was all it took.

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