Tuesday, May 02, 2017

MacArthur's Spies: A Book Review

The smoky club, the sultry singer, the pretty hostesses flirting with the enemy---it's the makings of a noir thriller, but in MACARTHUR'S SPIES, it's not a film.

Peter Eisner brings to life a small group of determined patriots whose exploits in the Philippines during the Second World War are remarkable. The group includes ex-pats and Filipinos, all of them risking their lives for the sake of undermining the Japanese occupation.

To read of ordinary people placing themselves into great danger is a thrill, and the author does an excellent job of bringing forward the sort of tension that these ordinary people lived with every day, with the threat of death a daily experience. The cast of characters if certainly interesting, none more so than Claire Phillips. As a woman and an American trying to survive in enemy territory, she stepped up and acted with bold determination, using her ability to shade her past to create a new person who found ways to support the rebels and the American POWs.

The complexity of the operation makes for a complex read, and it is sometimes difficult to keep all the names straight, but the underlying current of fear is enough to propel a reader forward. This is a tale of resilience to be sure, with a touch of laughing in the face of death, and it all makes for a very compelling read.

Anyone who enjoys a good spy novel will thoroughly enjoy this journey into the inner workings of a large-scale plot to pave the way for liberation. As usual, I'm thanking Penguin Random House for the advance review copy.

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