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THE LOOKING-GLASS WAR BY: JOHN LE CARRE

THE LOOKING-GLASS WAR BY: JOHN LE CARRE

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FEATURES: THE LOOKING-GLASS WAR   BY: JOHN LE CARRE
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A) CONDITION BOOK: NEAR FINE - HARD BOUND
B) CONDITION DUST JACKET: GOOD - NOT PRICE CLIPPED [$18S] BRODART
C) FIRST EDITION - WILLIAM HEINEMANN PUBLISHING 1965
D) NOTE:  AUTHORS SUCCESSFUL FOLLOW-UP NOVEL TO 'THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD'.  SPINE BADLY FADED AS IS UNFORTUNATELY VERY COMMON.  246 PAGES.
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BOOK GRADING CATEGORIES:
FINE
VERY GOOD
GOOD
FAIR
POOR
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About:
==
The Looking Glass War is a 1965 spy novel by John le Carré. Written in response to the positive public reaction to his previous novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the book explores the unglamorous nature of espionage and the danger of nostalgia. The book tells the story of an incompetent British intelligence agency known as The Department and its multiple botched attempts to verify a Communist defector's story of a Soviet missile buildup in East Germany. Some editions hyphenate "Looking Glass".
==

During the early 1960s, the formerly renowned British military intelligence organisation known colloquially as "The Department" is floundering. Surviving on long past memories of its aerial reconnaissance missions during the Second World War the organisation has been reduced to a skeleton crew consisting of Leclerc, a nostalgic former air commander who now languishes in bureaucracy as Director, John Avery, his 32 year old aide who took the job after failing as a publisher, Taylor, a middle-aged man who views the job as his last chance at glory, and Haldane, a pompous intellectual in ailing health whose research on the Soviet Union and East Germany has been the sole reason for departmental funding from Whitehall. Languishing in the mundanity of bureaucratic battles and inconsequential desk work, the organisation desperately desire the opportunity to regain their standing in the intelligence community, as well as to gain a one up against their now superior rivals in the Circus, headed by chief "Control" and his second-in-command, George Smiley.

The Department gets its wish when a defector passes information to the organisation regarding a build-up of Soviet missiles in the fictional town of Kalkstadt, near¬†L√ľbeck¬†across the border in¬†West Germany. With the¬†Cuban Missile Crisis¬†in mind, they quickly manufacture a plan to act, and bribe a commercial pilot to accidentally stray off course and photograph the site in the hopes of verification. Taylor is then dispatched to Finland to rendezvous with the pilot. After collecting the film, Taylor is killed in a¬†hit-and-run¬†incident, which Leclerc interprets as an attempt to recapture the film by the¬†Stasi. Further setbacks occur when Avery is dispatched to recover Taylor and his effects from the Finns when his documentation doesn't match Finnish information.

Despite the setbacks and their lack of any recent field action, Leclerc persuades the Minister to allow them to send an agent over the Inner German Border into East Germany. Fearing the Circus will take the operation over, the Department is deliberately vague, and presents the entire operation as a training exercise in order to obtain old radio transmitters from Smiley. The Department then tracks down one of its old agents, a middle-aged naturalised Pole called Fred Leiser.

==

Now a mechanic, Leiser has been out of the game a long time and knows little about the current circumstances of the intelligence community. Hoping to stave off any apprehension from Leiser, Haldane and Avery lie to him and tell him the Department is still the dominant espionage unit and is operating at the size it was at its wartime peak. Avery and Leiser become fast friends, with each feeling that the other is mutually beneficial. Avery believes that if Leiser's operation is successful, he will finally have accomplished something in his life that he can be proud of, whilst Leiser, currently in the midst of a mid-life crisis feels the operation is his chance to feel useful again and relive his wartime glory.

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