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Our Man Down in Havana

The Story Behind Graham Greene's Cold War Spy Novel

Christopher Hull, PhD

$43.95

Hardback

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Pegasus
05 March 2019
Biography: general; Biography: historical, political & military; Biography: literary; History of the Americas
Exploring the backstory that led to the writing of Graham Greene's beloved satirical spy novel, Our Man Down in Havana evokes this pivotal time and place in the author's life. When U.S. immigration authorities deported Graham Greene from Puerto Rico in 1954, the British author made an unplanned visit to Havana and the former MI6 officer had stumbled upon the ideal setting for a comic espionage story. Three years later, he returned in the midst of Castro's guerrilla insurgency against a U.S.-backed dictator to begin writing his iconic novel Our Man in Havana. Twelve weeks after its publication, in January 1959, the Cuban Revolution triumphed, soon transforming a capitalist playground into a communist stronghold. Combining biography, history, politics, and a measure of psychoanalysis, Our Man Down in Havana investigates the real story behind Greene's fiction. It includes his many visits to a pleasure island that became a revolutionary island, turning his chance involvement into a political commitment. His Cuban novel describes an amateur agent who dupes his intelligence chiefs with invented reports about concrete platforms and unidentifiable pieces of giant machinery. With eerie prescience, Greene's satirical tale had foretold the Cold War's most perilous episode, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Exploiting a wealth of archival material and interviews with key protagonists, Our Man Down in Havana delves into the story behind and beyond the author's prophetic Cuban tale, focusing on one slice of Greene's manic life: a single novel and its complex history.
By:   Christopher Hull PhD
Imprint:   Pegasus
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   536g
ISBN:   9781643130187
ISBN 10:   1643130188
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   05 March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christopher Hull, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Spanish & Latin American Studies at the University of Chester. His research focuses on British interactions with Latin America. He first visited Cuba in 1997 and has traveled extensively around the island during seventeen further visits, often in the footsteps of Graham Greene. He lives in England.

Reviews for Our Man Down in Havana: The Story Behind Graham Greene's Cold War Spy Novel

`Spying is eternal,' opines George Smiley in one of John Le Carre's thrillers. Fiction or not, he is right. While technical intelligence in today's digital world floods agencies with too much intelligence, the need for `humint'-spies-remains as strong as ever. In the dirty, corrupt world of exploiting other human beings: traitors; idealists; or just plain greedy; reality offers a darker picture. Christopher Hull's Our Man Down in Havana dissects Graham Greene's classic satire on spies with forensic skill, exposing the rotten heart of the CIA's `wilderness of mirrors.' An excellent book for intelligence professionals and the general reader alike. Read it and ponder-sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. -- Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, author of 'A Brief History of the Cold War' and 'The Secret State'


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