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Recruited by a foreign power in postwar Paris and sent to Washington, Winston Bates is without training or talent. He might be a walking definition of the anti-spy. Yet he makes his way onto the staff of the powerful Senator Richard Russell, head of the Armed Services Committee. From that perch, Bates has extensive and revealing contacts with the Dulles brothers, Richard Bissell, Richard Helms, Lyndon Johnson, Joe Alsop, Walter Lippman, Roy Cohn, and even Ollie North - to name but a few of the historical players in the American experience Winston befriends - and haplessly betrays for a quarter century.
A comedy of manners set within the circles of power and information, Peter Warner's The Mole is a witty social history of Washington in the latter half of the 20th century that presents the question: How much damage can be done by the wrong person in the right place at the right time?
Written as Winston’s memoir, The Mole details the American Century from an angle definitely off center. From Suez, the U-2 Crash, the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and Watergate, the novel is richly and factually detailed, marvelously convincing, and offers the listener a slightly subversive character searching for identity and meaning (as well as his elusive handler) in a heady time during one of history's most defining eras.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anne on 11-04-13
An excellent read (listen)
A well-crafted, chatty novel which intricately mixes fact and fiction. Mr. Warner is gifted in character development and description. His protagonist is an interesting character who is not altogether likeable but for whom the reader will have reason for admiration.
This will be particularly interesting to those who are familiar with the Cold War era.
The narration is perfect!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By carl801 on 11-12-13
The Cold War: Comedy/Tragedy
This is quite an extraordinary spy novel. Winston Bates is sort of a brilliant Forrest Gump, a man with a talent not only for finding himself at the center of every failed Cold War clandestine operation from Suez to Iran Contra but for inadvertently causing some of them. He knows every high level player in US intelligence. He trades in gossip and the funny thing is, nobody in Washington seems to be able to keep a secret. Bates' photographic memory and his success on the social scene place him in the perfect places to gather information. At every turn, he tries to do the right thing but for 40 years he has no idea why he is spying or what he is supposed to accomplish. Peter Warner's Winston Bates manages to capture the supreme absurdity that I remember so vividly from the Cold War.
BTW, a lot of this novel is realized in conversations. The reader's performance brought all the characters to life, but especially Winston Bates.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful