I had some diverse non-fiction books land in my mailbox this Monday.
This is the audiobook edition of one of the most unbelievable spy stories of all time. A high ranking CIA official trained his son to spy on the Russians. Here is the description from Amazon:
“Jim Nicholson was one of the CIA’s top veteran case officers. By day he taught spycraft at the CIA’s clandestine training center, The Farm. By night,he was a minivan-driving single father racing home to have dinner with his kids. But Nicholson led a double life. For more than two years, he had met covertly with agents of Russia’s foreign intelligence service and turned over troves of classified documents. In 1997 Nicholson became the highest-ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage. But his duplicity didn’t stop there.
While behind the bars of a federal prison, the former mole systematically groomed the one person he trusted most to serve as his stand-in: his youngest son, Nathan. When asked to smuggle messages out of prison to Russian contacts, Nathan saw an opportunity to be heroic and to make his father proud.”
I’m always fascinated by the way life events evoke character. Brave Faces is the true story of a privileged woman who valued World War II service more than debutante balls. Here is the description from Amazon.
“Brave Faces is Mary Arden’s story as she moves from her privileged English upbringing to dealing with the realities of World War II. Mary’s memoir gives an insight into the changes in society that took place with the advent of war. As the Second World War breaks out, Mary’s parents are determined that their daughter’s privileged upbringing should continue, and that life should carry on as much as normal. She is sent to finishing school and becomes a debutante attending ‘coming out’ balls in London, despite the nightly bombing raids. However, Mary is determined to do her bit for the war effort, and volunteers to serve as a Red Cross Nurse, before joining the WRNS. Accepted into the WRNS, not as an officer, but as ‘other rank’, Mary has to learn to live a very different kind of life to the one she was brought up to expect. She is used to being chaperoned, only talking to men she has been ‘introduced’ to, so it’s an almost impossible task for her Senior WREN Officer to find a suitable category for this naive girl. Mary finally becomes part of a new elite category known as Night Vision Testers, training the young pilots to see in the dark so they can land their planes on the deck of their aircraft carrier and not in the sea. As the war progresses, Mary moves from one Naval Air station to another. Her tasks become stranger than fiction and her duties are definitely outside her job description – and most probably outside the rules too. An evocative memoir about one woman’s life from privilege to service, heartbreak to laughter.”
Coco and the Little Black Dress is the story of Chanel’s childhood in an orphanage. Here is the description form Amazon:
“”Hurry up! You may only go to bed when all the sheets are ironed.” Little Coco grew up in the orphanage and had to work hard for a living sewing and embroidering like an angel. Until her eighteenth birthday . . . Coco knew one thing for sure Coco. She would never, never be poor again. A beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel (1883-1971) was a famous French fashion designer. Born into a poor family, strictly brought up in the orphanage, influenced by the style of wealthy suitors , she remained faithful throughout her life to the simplicity. A luxurious simplicity , which has produced memorable style icons like the little black dress and perfume Chanel No. 5.”
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Spy’s Son from Audible. I received copies of Brave Faces and Coco and the Little Black Dress from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.