MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. Jeffreys-Jones, an expert on the history of intelligence and espionage, draws on newly declassified FBI documents and on the FBI’s file on Turrou. He pitches his book as a pacy spy thriller, but he lets trivial details from his documents impede the storytelling ... The narrative advances at the speed of an ocean liner. Despite the new archival documents, the author often relies on Turrou’s self-serving account of his investigation. The book’s coverage of the spy trial should have been a high point but is instead cursory and anticlimactic ... The book’s subtitle refers to “the case that stirred the nation,” the moment when Americans began to turn away from neutrality and against Germany. But not everyone was persuaded by the screaming headlines ... The Nazi Spy Ring in America shows that the threat was real, even as it fails to deliver an engaging narrative worthy of this fascinating episode.
Leonardo Padura, trans. by Anna Kushner
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Padura\'s most strenuous imaginative work involves filling in Mercader\'s background ... Spy-novel clichés and hard-boiled dialogue (\'he\'s in Washington, singing like a canary\') keep the pages of The Man Who Loved Dogs turning. Despite Mr. Padura\'s tendency to let a few of his characters make overlong speeches about the meaning of identity and the failure of the socialist utopia, the tension builds toward a dramatic climax that helps to make his novel a rewarding read, despite its excesses.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalFor all its narrative interest, Between Two Millstones adds little to Solzhenitsyn’s literary reputation; nor does it shed much new light on this period of the Cold War. It is most effective, and affecting, as a record of the mental torment that Solzhenitsyn endured in an alien environment. Addressing a town meeting in Cavendish in February 1977—hoping to soothe local opposition to the chain-link fence he has erected to keep out “\'he reporters and the idle types\'—he reflects on \'this bitter fate of forced exile. Nothing seems the same in a foreign land; nothing seems yours. You feel a constant anguish in those conditions under which everyone else lives normally—and you are seen as a stranger.\'