In honor of this year’s Summer Reading theme, “Libraries Rock!”, I’ve created a handful of matching book lists and Spotify playlists. Here’s a taste of “The Cold War”!
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
In 1950s Vietnam, a washed up, opium-addicted journalist from the UK and his young Vietnamese lover find their lives interrupted by a bright-eyed newcomer from the States, only to discover that something dangerous lurking beneath his carefully cultivated Boy Scout façade. (The library also owns the surprisingly good film adaptation starring Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine!)
Hard to be a God by Arkady and Boris Strugatskii
In this blend of historical fiction, alt-history, and futuristic sci-fi, an agent of the future Communist one-world government is sent to gently steer the development of a feudal society on another planet, only to discover that history isn’t so easily manipulated. Though it didn’t escape the interfering hand of state censors, Hard To Be a God is a compelling story and a fascinating criticism of Soviet expansionism and historical theory.
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (DVD)
Alec Leamas, a burned-out British intelligence agent is given one last operation before his retirement: get himself recruited as a defector to the Communists in order to smuggle out a vital informant. Inevitably, both sides of the political divide reveal themselves to be more, and less, than what Leamas has been led to believe.