The Company: A Novel of the CIA 1951-91 Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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Littell has created the genre-defining masterwork of CIA/KGB shenanigans which fizzes along like Saturn 5 -- Jack Magazine August 2002
The Company is a big, compulsive, sometimes exhausting, read--but it is also a genuine page-turner . . .unputdownable -- The Bookseller Friday 26th July
There are few good books about the CIA. . . Mr Littell has aimed magnificently high -- Economist Friday 16th August 2002 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Robert Littell was born, raised, and educated in New York. A former "Newsweek" editor specializing in Soviet affairs, he left journalism in 1970 to write fiction full time. Connoisseurs of the spy novel have elevated Robert Littell to the genre's highest ranks, and Tom Clancy wrote that if Robert Littell didn t invent the spy novel, he should have. He is the author of fifteen novels, including the "New York Times" bestseller "The Company and Legends," the 2005 "L.A. Times" Book Award for Best Thriller/Mystery. He currently lives in France." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys edge-of-your-seat cold war thrillers. I have read many cold war novels and none of them compare to this book. This is the book that everyone is talking about, and don't be put off by its size, its worth savouring every page!!!!!!!!!
As with all historical novels you always wonder how close they are based on reality. Characters like Jim Angleton and the Sorcerer/Harvey Torriti (presumably Bill Harvey) should be straight out of reality. On the other hand, you wouldn't mind it to be pure fiction after you discover that one of rising stars in the CIA was discovered to be working for the other side - thirty years after he was hired.
Generally, the book doesn't follow history too closely, but what does one expect. It is a novel. Besides, if Robert Littell had included all the battlegrounds between the CIA and the KGB, this book would come in several volumes.
I don't have any favorite episodes. I loved the whole book. It is great that there are some good spy novels coming out of America.
The powerful story takes in spymasters on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and it's nice to see a book which isn't just from the US side. A major theme in the book is the identity of SASHA, a mole in the CIA and there is a fair amount of detail about his handling from the Soviet side.
Unfortunately, the writing style isn't up to the excellent story. The dialogue and the love lives of the main characters is in large parts cliched/over dramatic. The main character in the USSR is portrayed as a paedophile and is a one dimensional character. A number of the othe rmain characters seem to be littl emore than cardoboard cutouts. (All the wives of agents blend into one, to be honest) And the twists and turns in the SASHA sub-plot are fairly predictable - with more than half the book to go, I knew who SASHA was and how he would be captured.
That said, it's a gripping read and the operational sections are fantastic. Would make a great holiday read, worth a look if you enjoy spy stuff but don't expect great literature.
As a lover of spy fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Yes, it's very long - the only problem you will face is trying to stay awake so you can carry on reading at 3am! I do agree with some of the other reviewers that important episodes seem to have been left out. On reflection, though, I prefer the detail with which the main episodes have been sketched. This book did for me what a really good book will do - it incentivised me to go and find out more about particular events such as the Hungary uprising.
Two caveats: the social and especially romantic lives of the main characters are a bit "soapy", and while the book doesn't really shy away from criticizing the CIA, it does so in a very guarded way. I do think a bit of wider reading should be done also just to put some of the things in perspective. Having said all that, the book is highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If anybody reading this review have not read any of this Authors books do your self a favour and look him up. He can sure tell a tale.
You could start with Legends.
I am currently reading this excellent novel. The period covers the international affairs that I all too readily remember and Littell style is for me excellent with only a few... Read morePublished 18 months ago by NEIL CLEMENT
Dialogue so leaden it could sink a battleship. Couldn't make it past page 15.Published 21 months ago by Dr Maturin
Robert Littell has a long established reputation as a major spy novelist, which this book has done much to enhance. Read morePublished on 31 May 2014 by Jon Corelis
I first read this book many years ago and it has neither aged nor lost its appeal. The weaving of fact and what I presume is fiction/speculation on the part of the author is... Read morePublished on 19 May 2014 by Terry de Boo