Every month I go through my books and donate some to various sources - Fayetteville Library bookstore, Goodwill, etc - and a few weeks ago my eye fell upon a Man from U.N.C.L.E.
novel I’ve had for decades. That might be fun to read again, I thought.
What I discovered was a book that accurately predicted our world in the 21st Century, even though it was published in 1966.
To be honest, “The Affair of the Gentle Saboteur,” by Brandon Keith, is not all that highly regarded by many fans of the old spy series, because it doesn’t read like an episode of the show.
What it does read like, however, is very much a Cold War novel. Growing up in the military, I tended to enjoy this sort of story in junior high and high school. Though hardly in the John le Carré class, it still offers an interesting view of world politics in the 1960s.
The plot, in a nutshell, involves those nefarious devils of THRUSH (what did
that name stand for, anyway?) bringing over a master bomb-maker to target various sites which are regarded as almost sacred by Americans. Fortunately, he is arrested just after he lays his first bomb, at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty.
During interrogation, he is asked why his taskmasters have come up with such a plan. His answer?
“ . . . We believe the time to be ripe to create confusion and terror within the United States itself, to make it an object of world ridicule, and to precipitate the United States into unwise and unfortunate acts - and thus, aside from influencing the uncommitted nations, to cause division and foment discontent between the United States and its allies.”
Unwise and unfortunate acts.
The novel is worth reading just for that one section alone. It struck me, in 2016, with greater impact than when I first read it as a teenager.
I thought of the invasion of Iraq, the rise of American mercenary groups and the huge profits they had seen as a result of their involvement in our Middle East adventures, the detention and torture of people all too often determined to be innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever.
The rise of ISIS.
The deaths and crippling injuries, both physical and emotional, that far too many returning soldiers have experienced.
Spending millions of dollars on a war that was needless to begin with.
Americans turning on each other and on our traditional allies. Remember Freedom Fries?
I wonder if the next person who reads this book will see the same things that I did.
Today’s blog was written with the assistance of the CD “Tainted Apples,” by the talented Northwest Arkansas duo WAOKA.
Now on YouTube: The Adventures of Clarke Buehling
Now on YouTube - The Adventures of CLARKE BUEHLING,
master of the banjo:
Quote of the Day
Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. - Lenny Bruce