Tag: Cold War

The Cuban Affair Book Review

Book cover with palm tree and ocean on frontIntrigue, espionage, or thievery? With a tad bit of a love story thrown in, each describes The Cuban Affair. If it weren’t for the publication date, late 2017, one would think the book was written in response to the 2018 American election results. Subtle and not so subtle references to millennials’ acceptance of communism and/or socialism are scattered throughout the novel.

Author Nelson DeMille uses a first person protagonist, Daniel MacCormick to narrate this action adventure. MacCormick, or Mac as he prefers to be called, is a veteran of the war against the Taliban. His first mate is Jack, a Vietnam vet. The two men charter The Maine, a 42-footer, out of Key West.

A Miami based Cuban lawyer approaches Mac for an unusual charter, a fishing competition in Cuba; part of the thawing of relations between the two countries. But there is a catch-or two. Jack will skipper the boat while Mac flies into Cuba. He is to provide back-up to Sara, a Cuban-American architect. So, the pair join a Yale alumni organized cultural exchange group.

Cuban Affair of the Heart

Sara’s goal is to steal back property titles and hidden money before full relations are restored between the United States and Cuba. She needs a love affair as cover for her departure from the group. For Mac’s part, he may just be falling in love. But can he trust her?

The action adventure has a major plot twist. Both Mac and Jack utilize their combat skills. There is deceit and lots of political commentary. DeMille is clear with his warnings about communism. I hope this book reaches the crowd in America warming to the Marxist doctrine. The picture DeMille paints through his description of poverty and hardship in Cuba is accurate. Everyone making the same wage only benefits those running the government. The Cuban Affair provides a good look at the economic woes of communism.

Fact or Fiction

A quick call to my favorite military historian as well as an Internet search left me unsure of the factual basis of the major plot twist. Plausible, yes. Possible, maybe. But actual fact? I will leave that for you to decide for yourself.

The Cuban Affair is a good read. Thanks go out for the recommendation. The action adventure genre is not one that I read on a regular basis as I prefer mysteries. But, I enjoyed the writing, the characters and the message. DeMille provides a male point of view of romance. No hearts and flowers, lots of basic human needs. This is not a sweet historical fiction romance. The Cuban Affair captures your attention on many levels. Give it a try.

Hidden Target Book Review

Recent news reminds me of the Cold War. One of the best writers of spy novels, Helen MacInnes wrote most of her books during the Cold War. The Hidden Target is my favorite Helen MacInnes novel. The book is both a spy novel and a love story. Some of my favorite books are re-read multiple times. This is one.

The Cold War made it easier to know who the bad guys were. Thus the suspense in The Hidden Target is not from an unknown predator or predators. Instead, the suspense builds around a time element. Will the good guys catch the bad guys before havoc ensues?

Hidden Target Plot

The plot is fairly straightforward. Russian agents infiltrate a group of college kids studying in Europe. They coax a small group into touring the world in a camper (think RV) starting from Europe. Of course an ulterior motive or two exist.
Nina O’Connell, the daughter of a high-ranking Washington D.C. politician is the target. Nina lost her mother to an early death and is adjusting to her father’s second wife. So, she is onboard with a summer of travel. In fact, she doesn’t even discuss the matter with him.

On the last afternoon before departure, Nina runs into Robert “Bob” Renwick. He is the hero of the story. Their last meeting occurred when Nina was only 15. A first love for her. Unrequited since he is much older than she. Naturally, Bob learns of the expedition.

Bob Renwick works for N.A.T.O. and is setting up an international organization to gather intelligence on terrorism. (Thus my tie in to current affairs.) The chance meeting bothers Bob because of the trip to explore the world. Even though he is busy establishing a new intelligence agency, he keeps digging into the oddities surrounding Nina’s travel plans. Naturally the two-story lines merge.

The Russian agents use familiar techniques to gain their objective. Most of the travelling students are gradually hooked on drugs and become easy to control. Sympathy is shown for encountered groups who use violence to make their point to the public. Anarchy is held in high regard. Even a divide and conquer approach can be found. Unfortunately I see some of the above techniques currently at work in our country.

I highly recommend reading The Hidden Target or any other Helen MacInnes book. The plots are as relevant today as they were during the Cold War when she wrote the stories. One only needs to look back at the 2016 election to understand the current dangers.