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National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 40-42.

 

Proffitt, Nicholas.  The Embassy House. New York: Bantam, 1986.

For more than a decade, Nicholas Proffitt served as a correspondent and a bureau chief for Newsweek in many locations around the globe, including “hot spots” such as Saigon and Beirut.  He has won awards for his reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict and on the fall of Saigon to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.  The experience he acquired during his three years in Saigon provided the basis for his first two novels: Gardens of Stone, which is a military novel, and The Embassy House, a very accomplished espionage novel.

The Embassy House focuses on the C.I.A.’s Phoenix Program.  Operatives are charged with raiding Vietnamese villages, interrogating suspected Viet Cong and their sympathizers, and summarily executing anyone they have reason to believe may be in the Viet Cong leadership. To head the program, the C.I.A. recruits a Green Beret captain named Jake Gulliver, who is code-named “Sandman” in recognition of his proficiency and stealth in killing the enemy.  But from the start, Gulliver is uneasy with the expediency displayed and tolerated by his C.I.A. supervisor, Bennett Steelman.  When one of Steelman’s proteges, whom he has been grooming to replace Gulliver, participates in the impulsive torture and murder of a South Vietnamese man who has no connection whatsoever to the Viet Cong, Gulliver attempts to force the issue with a public hearing on the incident.  Steelman, however, prefers to order the elimination of his protégé and of several Vietnamese who had participated in the potentially scandalous incident.  Seeing no way to ethically accommodate the corrosive effect of self-interest on strategy and policy that Steelman exemplifies, Gulliver resigns and leaves Vietnam.

 

Roberts, James Hall.  Dragons at the Gate.  New York: Morrow, 1975.

James Hall Roberts was the pseudonym of Robert Lipscomb Duncan, who has taught television writing at the University of California at Irvine, fiction writing at Chapman College in Orange, California, and journalism at the University of Oklahoma School of Professional Writing.  In addition to novels, he has written short stories and has a long list of television credits.  Under his own name, Lipscomb has written topical suspense novels that take their start in an inventive twist on a common preconception.  As Roberts, he has produced espionage novels in the “maverick” mold.

In Dragons at the Gate, the main character is a C.I.A. operative in Japan, who discovers that he has been targeted by his own employers.  Suddenly, after years of working within and relying on the agency, he can no longer trust anyone in it, and he has to rely instead on his own small circle of personal friends and acquaintances who have no connection to the intelligence community.  Relying on his own skills and rediscovering his core strength of character, he manages to outmaneuver those who are after him and to ruin their careers while securing his own safety, and his pension as well.

 

Rostand, Robert.  The Killer Elite.  New York: Delacorte, 1973.

Robert Sidney Hopkins has been employed in academia, in the corporate world, and in the diplomatic service.  Under his own name he has produced two mainstream novels, a novel for young adults, and several books of nonfiction.  Under the pseudonym Robert Rostand, he has produced seven suspense novels, most of which can be put in the espionage category.

Rostand’s most acclaimed work has been The Killer Elite, which was adapted into a hard-nosed film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring James Caan and Robert Duvall.  The main character, named Locken, works for SYOPS, a fictional clandestine security arm of the U.S. State Department.  During his last assignment, one of the world’s most ruthless assassins has maimed Locken.  Barely adjusted, physically or psychologically, to his new limitations, Locken is asked to escort an African leader safely out of London before one of the multiple killers hired to eliminate him is able to find his mark.  Locken is so preoccupied in proving his fitness–for duty and for life in general—that it takes him a while to realize that there are covert reasons why he was selected for the assignment.

_________________________

 

Previous Posts in This Series:

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 1-3: http://academeblog.org/2014/05/30/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-1-3/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 4-5: http://academeblog.org/2014/05/31/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-4-5/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 6-7: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/01/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-6-7/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 8-10: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/04/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-8-10/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 11-13: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/06/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-11-13/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 14-16: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/11/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-14-16/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 17-19: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/18/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-17-19/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 20-22: http://academeblog.org/2014/06/25/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-20-22/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 23-25: http://academeblog.org/2014/07/07/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-23-25/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 26-29: http://academeblog.org/2014/07/11/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-26-29/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 30-32: http://academeblog.org/2014/07/23/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-30-32/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 33: http://academeblog.org/2014/07/29/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-33/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 34-36: http://academeblog.org/2014/08/10/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-34-36/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 37-39: http://academeblog.org/2014/08/15/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-37-39/

 

About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University, where I have been a faculty member for almost 25 years. I serve as the president of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes two bargaining units, as the vice-president of the Ohio Conference of AAUP, and as a member of the executive committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized.

6 comments on “National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 40-42.

  1. martinkich
    August 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on Stuff for a Slow Day.

  2. Pingback: National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 43-45. | The Academe Blog

  3. Pingback: National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 46-48. | The Academe Blog

  4. Pingback: National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 49-50. | The Academe Blog

  5. Pingback: America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 1-2 | The Academe Blog

  6. Pingback: America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 3-5. | The Academe Blog

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This entry was posted on August 21, 2014 by in faculty.
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