Over the past couple years I’ve been posting about some of the books and authors that I’ve found that John le Carré has recommended over time. Le Carré tends to dole out his support sparingly, especially since he someone faked a recommendation from him, so it’s always interesting to see what he’s endorsed.
Thanks to the folks on the John le Carré Facebook group and the Spybrary Facebook group I recently had a new batch come to light.
Read previous installments-
Mafias on the Move by Federico Varese – JlC endorsement – “Federico Varese is two writers rolled into one: a fearless fact-hunter who goes after his quarry with the zeal of a thoroughbred journalist, and a dedicated academic who examines and analyzes his catch with relentless detachment. Throw in a robust understanding of the impact of contemporary history on the behavior of a globalized criminal underworld and you have both a compelling read and an impeccable work of reference.”
Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman – JlC blurb – “A remarkable feat of fearless and responsible reporting . . . important, timely, and informative.”
Nibelungenlied by Unknown German author – JlC quote – “I was also enchanted, in a romantic sense, by the German Middle Ages; I still consider the Nibelungenlied to be one of the greatest literary creations.” The Nibelungenlied is a epic poem from the German Middle Ages. Mostly known now as connected to Richard Wagner’s opera, Die Ring des Nibelungen, which was actually based on similar storytelling from Norse mythology.
The File: A Personal History by Timothy Garton Ash – JlC Blurb – This one is a bit odd in that there are two different blurbs on offer. Publishers tend to play fast and loose with ellipsis in blurbs but this one is a bit more opaque than usual in regards to the original quote. I’ll just list the two options – “A chilling portrait of treachery and compromise that will not let me go.” and “A chilling portrait of treachery and compromise, an invaluable document for our time, bravely and beautifully written.”
Operation Splinter Factor by Stewart Steven – JlC blurb – “Fascinating and appalling. Stewart Steven has unearthed a dreadful tale.”
This article from Salon gave the next five endorsements.
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – JlC endorsement – “No library, however humble, is complete without its well-thumbed copy of “Right Ho, Jeeves,” by P.G. Wodehouse, which contains the immortal scene of Gussie Fink-Nottle, drunk to the gills, presenting the prizes to the delighted scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, built around 1416.”
The Heart of a Goof & The Clicking of Cuthbert by P.G. Wodehouse – JlC endorsement – “[E]xpand to Wodehouse’s two great golfing masterpieces: ‘The Heart of a Goof’and ‘The Clicking of Cuthbert.’ That’s just to remind yourself what fun reading is.”
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford – JlC endorsement – “[A] neglected gem, one of the saddest and greatest novels of our century or any other.”
Love In The Time Of Cholera & Chronicle Of A Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – JlC endorsement – “‘Love In The Time Of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is equaled only by his novella, ‘Chronicle Of A Death Foretold,’ which in turn compares pretty well with the greatest short story in the world, Tolstoy’s ‘Death of Ivan Ilyich.’
Novels of Charles Dickens, Novels of Honoré de Balzac, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, History of the Jews by Josephus, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – JlC endorsement – “When you have read them all you will be better qualified for a doctorate in human nature than three quarters of the idiots who have got one.”