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King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America's Spymaster in Korea

Blaine Harden



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03 May 2019
Autobiography: historical, political & military; True war & combat stories; History; Korean War; Espionage & secret services
In King of Spies, prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden, reveals one of the most astonishing -- and previously untold -- spy stories of the twentieth century. Donald Nichols was a one man war , according to his US Air Force commanding general. He won the Distinguished Service Cross, along with a chest full of medals for valor and initiative in the Korean War. His commanders described Nichols as the bravest, most resourceful and effective spymaster of that forgotten war. But there is far more to Donald Nichols' story than first meets the eye . . . Based on long-classified government records, unsealed court records, and interviews in Korea and the U.S., King of Spies tells the story of the reign of an intelligence commander who lost touch with morality, legality, and even sanity, if military psychiatrists are to be believed. Donald Nichols was America's Kurtz. A seventh-grade dropout, he created his own black-ops empire, commanding a small army of hand-selected spies, deploying his own makeshift navy, and ruling over it as a clandestine king, with absolute power over life and death. He claimed a legal license to murder -and inhabited a world of mass executions and beheadings, as previously unpublished photographs in the book document. Finally, after 11 years, the U.S. military decided to end Nichols's reign. He was secretly sacked and forced to endure months of electroshock in a military hospital in Florida. Nichols told relatives the American government was trying to destroy his memory. King of Spies looks to answer the question of how an uneducated, non-trained, non-experienced man could end up as the number-one US spymaster in South Korea and why his US commanders let him get away with it for so long . . . PRAISE FOR KING OF SPIES A good yarn and a timely one Washington Post An engrossing hidden history of wartime espionage, with elements of derring-do and moral barbarity....Fascinating. Kirkus Review
By:   Blaine Harden
Imprint:   Pan
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 130mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   222g
ISBN:   9781509815791
ISBN 10:   1509815791
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   03 May 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Blaine Harden is a reporter for PBS Frontline and a contributor to The Economist, based in Seattle, having completed a tour as the Washington Post's bureau chief in Tokyo. He is the prize-winning, acclaimed author of Escape From Camp 14; Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent; A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia and The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.

Reviews for King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America's Spymaster in Korea

Fascinating account of an espionage pioneer who thrived during the Korean War and then disappeared into disgraced obscurity . . . An engrossing hidden history of wartime espionage, with elements of derring-do and moral barbarity. * Kirkus * Many accounts of the Korean War are full of mystery, hinting at horrific crimes and large-scale covert operations. King of Spies pierces that mystery through the story of a remarkable American operative who took his mission to mind-boggling extremes. The adventures that fill these pages, from bleak battlefields to the corridors of power, tell us much about how the world really works * Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq * Blaine Harden has done what no one else thought to do in seven decades: He's brought us the full, secret, astonishing story of one of the most improbably powerful characters in American history, and he has done so with crystalline writing and in jaw-dropping detail * Steve Twomey, author of Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack * A thrilling real-life spy story told by a terrific writer. * Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA * King of Spies is a dark story of espionage and evil by a wild American military spymaster in Korea, a tale both revelatory and tragic. Blaine Harden's superb book throws open a long-ignored chapter in the Korean War; a compelling and disturbing read, not to be missed * David E. Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal * A must-read for readers interested in Korea, the -Korean War, or U.S. intelligence operations * Library Journal * Blaine Harden has now produced a fascinating trilogy of stranger-than-fiction books about North Korea. His latest, King of Spies, is about a gay, middle school dropout who was one of the few U.S. officials to predict the outbreak of the Korean War and whose espionage activities had a profound impact on the course of the war. You've probably never heard of Donald Nichols, but you'll never forget him after reading King of Spies * Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea * Blaine Harden's King of Spies is jaw-droppingly good - a quirky, unlikely, thrilling true story of intrigue and daring and depravity told by a master of the genre * David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story *

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