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The Charm School af Nelson DeMille
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The Charm School (original 1988; udgave 2017)

af Nelson DeMille (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,149517,309 (4.05)46
Fiction. Mystery. Thriller. HTML:"True master" and #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille presents a chilling, relentlessly suspenseful story of Cold War espionage perfect for fans of the hit FX show The Americans (Dan Brown).
On a dark road deep inside the Russian woods at Borodino, a young American tourist picks up an unusual passenger with an explosive secret: an U.S. POW on the run from "The Charm School," a sinister operation where American POWs teach young KBG agents how to be model U.S. citizens. Their goal? To infiltrate the United States undetected. With this horrifying conspiracy revealed, the CIA sets an investigation in motion, and three Americans??an Air Force officer, an embassy liaison, a CIA chief??pit themselves against the country's enemies in a high-powered game of international int… (mere)
Medlem:themadhatter452
Titel:The Charm School
Forfattere:Nelson DeMille (Forfatter)
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2017), Edition: Reissue, 800 pages
Samlinger:Skal læses
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

Charmeskolen af Nelson DeMille (1988)

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The Charm School. Nelson DeMille.1988. This is an oldie but a goodie. The Charm School is a secret complex hidden in the woods outside of Moscow that trains spies to become Americans so they can infiltrate all aspects of American life. Three hundred American soldiers and airmen captured in North Vietnam are imprisoned there and forced to help in the school. A military attaché from the American Embassy finds out about it and eventually is captured and taken there alone with his girl friend, an information officer. This the basis for the TV series, “The Americans,” in which Soviet spies pose as a married couple with children and send information back to Moscow. Both the book and he series are fascinating. I mentioned this book to a terrorist expert from Maxwell who goes to our church, and he said of course it was true, and we had the same thing here. ( )
  judithrs | Feb 6, 2024 |
pretty good but a little too much testosterone spillage for my taste.
  derailer | Jan 25, 2024 |
The Charm School

Nelson De Mille is best known for his lengthy (often 500-plus pages) thrillers and his extensive research. For example, in his novel 1CThe Lion, 1D which included an act of airline terrorism, Nelson wrote about the unit of the New York Port Authority Police Department that is nicknamed Guns and Hoses because members of the unit are trained as both a Swat team and as firefighters. In 1CThe Charm School, 1D DeMille has studied Russian geography, culture and language (you want to know how to say obscenities in Russian? This book has them.) and even how to fly an Mi-28 Soviet helicopter. (The level of detail in the description of flying the copter partly explains the length of this book.) DeMille is above all a crafty storyteller. From the first chapter, 1CThe Charm School 1D adumbrates one after another variation on the mythic hero 19s journey made familiar by Joseph Campbell in books like 1CHero with a Thousand Faces. 1D

In the last years of the Cold War, American tourist Greg Fisher is about to drive from Smolensk to Moscow in his Pontiac TransAm 14a car that no Russian who sees it is going to forget, of course. As he is about to set off on this journey, his Soviet Intourist guide, like a mythical harbinger, warns him that he must arrive in Moscow before dark or he will get into big trouble, and she advises him not to take any detours even though he is authorized to take one. Naturally, Fisher takes his detour to see a famous battlefield, gets lost trying to find his way back to the highway, and arrives in Moscow after dark. Under virtual house arrest in his hotel for this 1Citinerary violation, 1D Fisher makes a desperate call to the U.S. embassy in Moscow because his side trip involved more than getting lost: Fisher met an American Vietnam War POW on foot near the Borodino battlefield.

Fisher 19s phone call launches heroic adventures for the rest of DeMille 19s cast of characters: Lisa Rhodes, a U.S. Information Service officer who takes his phone call, Defense Intelligence officer Col. Sam Hollis, and CIA Station Chief Seth Alevy. Hollis immediately goes on his own heroic journey to try to rescue Fisher. In contrast to Fisher, Hollis is an experienced hero, which explains why he is able to return to the world of the living battered but alive, while Fisher seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Rhodes begins her own journey into the underworld when she and Hollis travel to a morgue to recover Fisher 19s body. Like Fisher, Rhodes is not a veteran hero, but with Hollis as her guide and ally, she survives when their mission goes awry. Alevy at first seems to be a somewhat ambivalent figure until he proves to be an ally when he rescues Hollis and Rhodes after they get themselves in over their heads. Finally, in Part Five, the last part of the book, Alevy, himself, becomes the hero as he embarks on a final mission to rescue Hollis and Rhodes. (Alevy rescues them more than once.)

Of course, a heroic journey is not a heroic journey without adversity, preferably personified in a villain. Indeed, DeMille chooses as his epigram for Part Five this quote from JRR Tolkien: 1CIt doesn 19t do to leave a live Dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. 1D The Dragon, at one level is the Soviet system itself, with its arbitrary laws that are used to privilege party members in general and the KGB (or Committee for State Security) in particular. The evil of the Soviet system is personified in KGB Col. Petr Burov a.k.a. Pavlichenko (which might be his real name while Burov might be his nom de guerre, or it might be the other way around). Burov is formidable, clever and treacherous. In short, a perfect villain. He has a human side, too, it is explained: He believes his harsh worldview is the only true way of life and the best way to protect his wife, mother and small daughter.

DeMille does not neglect to ask deep questions between the thrills. There is much discussion among the characters about the Russian character, which ironically seemed to support both the czarist tyranny and the Soviet one. From the outset, the Soviets proposed to create a new man for their new system, but instead preyed on the same weaknesses and fears as their predecessors. (I believe the irony is universal: socialism, fully instituted, is nothing more than neo-feudalism with the empowered elites patronizing/terrorizing the powerless people.)

Writing before the collapse of the Soviet Union ( 1CThe Charm School 1D is copyrighted 1988), DeMille has studied the then-current expert opinion on the Soviet Union and demonstrates far better than any non-fiction book or article I have ever read why Western experts did not see the collapse coming. At one point, DeMille has his hero, Hollis, make a mental note of the fact that among other evidences of decay and demoralization, he has not heard any Russians call each other 1Ccomrade 1D in years. But he writes off all of this evidence by simply saying that the Soviet system had seemed to be collapsing for many decades and no doubt would continue to seem to be collapsing for decades to come. So as the signs of imminent collapse increased, Soviet experts just discounted it as more of the usual demoralization that never before had seemed to affect the stability of the Soviet regime.

DeMille tells a ripping good story with plausible details, plenty of action and a couple of de rigueur hot sex scenes, but there are also a few plot holes that invite the passage of the huge submarine in Tom Clancy 19s 1CThe Hunt for Red October. 1D Early on it is revealed that the central conceit of 1CThe Charm School 1D is that the Soviets have a spy school where Soviet agents are trained by U.S. Vietnam War POWs to behave exactly like Americans. Dubbed by the captive instructors 1CMrs. Ivanova 19s Charm School, 1D the facility is located near the Borodino battlefield, just a couple of hours drive west of Moscow. The American spies, Hollis and Alevy, are shocked and surprised to find that such a school exists, both because of the basic mission of the facility and because of its use of missing U.S. military pilots and aviators.

First of all, the notion that American spies would be surprised by this idea is belied by the fact that I first read of it in the 1960s; so it was not a new idea in the late 1980s when 1CThe Charm School 1D was published. Secondly, DeMille 19s idea of having only captive instructors creates the predictable problem that the instructors occasionally give the trainees false information, which could eventually trip them up while trying to pass for Americans in the United States. A better idea would be to enlist willing American communists either as the only instructors or at least to catch and correct any misinformation given by the captive ones. Thirdly, DeMille 19s fictional charm school is located in the heart of Russia a few miles from Moscow and near a tourist attraction. The legendary and supposedly real charm schools 14of which there are said to have been several, covering the languages and customs of dozens of Western countries 14were more sensibly located in relatively remote places such as the Ural Mountains or non-Russian Soviet Republics like Tatar and Tashkent. ( )
  MilesFowler | Jul 16, 2023 |
Love me some DeMille!! Sam Hollis is no John Corey, but that does nothing to take away from this story. Great story, well written, crazy ending. DeMille's gotta be one of my favorite authors right now!! ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
First edition as new
  dgmathis | Mar 16, 2023 |
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Fiction. Mystery. Thriller. HTML:"True master" and #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille presents a chilling, relentlessly suspenseful story of Cold War espionage perfect for fans of the hit FX show The Americans (Dan Brown).
On a dark road deep inside the Russian woods at Borodino, a young American tourist picks up an unusual passenger with an explosive secret: an U.S. POW on the run from "The Charm School," a sinister operation where American POWs teach young KBG agents how to be model U.S. citizens. Their goal? To infiltrate the United States undetected. With this horrifying conspiracy revealed, the CIA sets an investigation in motion, and three Americans??an Air Force officer, an embassy liaison, a CIA chief??pit themselves against the country's enemies in a high-powered game of international int

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