Monday, 9 April 2012

Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett - 1978

A very close friend of mine, who happens to be archaeologist, told me once that history is written based on two important elements: the facts, provided by archives, objects and places; and imagination, which will depends entirely on the background of who's writing the episode.

As an example he put this on the conversation: "if you find a vessel made of clay in an excavation, you may have a number of different theories and explanations about this single object. Some people will say that this is the proof that the tribe/civilization/social group living there belonged to a very specific culture, some others will say that it is the evidence of a commerce corridor between different social groups, a third opinion may state that this is a clear proof of a conquered social group by a stronger one and so on, the possibilities are as many as archaeologist you have working on it. All will depend on the background and imagination of the finder".

There are always some gaps in the line of the history that cannot be filled but with a bit of imagination. Whether is the correct answer or not, we want to take it as true and with the time the assumption will be settled.

When I started to read 'Eye of the Needle' I discovered immediately an incredible writer in the same situation: Ken Follett, who wants to tell us something what he thinks might happened during the WWII when the 'Operation Mincemeat' undergoing.

The very best spy ever from the German side, Henry Faber (with his double identity as Mr. Baker) has been watching closely the activity of the British out of any suspicion. That's why he's the most trusted agent of Hitler.

But an unexpected episode will make him move from his hide and despite his high skills, he will leave enough trace to be chased. The Professor Percival Godliman and Colonel Andrew Terry will be the unusual team that will, by all means, to catch him once the know that this dangerous spy has learnt everything about the deception. This is not only a 'cops and robbers' game, this is a National Security affair where also the destiny of the world and mankind is at stake.

Keep an eye on: the fascinating character of Henry Faber, his humor and reactions. The landscapes, scenarios, geography and weather elements those that Follett describe with amazing realism. The cross stories that will come to an only one end.

As I said in the past, if history were taught in schools just in the way Follett or Ben Macintyre, do it in their books, kids and adults would like history a lot more and with this, our societies and identities would be stronger and better.

Related content: as we all know, the Operation Mincemeat involved thousands of individuals, from drivers, soldiers, SIS agents, codebreakers, etc. Simplyreaders highly recommends the page 56 of April 2012 BBC History Magazine with the article 'Bletchley Park - WW2 Intelligence Factory' written by Christopher Grey, Professor at Warwick University and author of the book 'Decoding Organization. Bletchley Park, Codebreaking and Organization Studies'.

A must read.
ISBN: 9781447208778

Special thanks to: Alberto and Estela for this book that represents one of the best presents ever and Conrad, to whom I dedicate this review in appreciation of his always interesting conversations.

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