Our 2018 Selection: A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré

Featuring an Author Visit by Joseph Kanon, author of The Defectors

What is One Book, One Highland Park?

One Book, One Highland Park is a community-wide program designed to create a shared appreciation of reading through thoughtful and compelling dialog. The One Book title is selected based on critical reception and its ability to further understanding and promote conversation about social or cultural issues and the human condition.

Why A Legacy of Spies?

Le Carré has been a bestselling author for more than half a century. Having begun his career in the secret intelligence service, he redefined the espionage genre and “has virtually single-handedly elevated spy novels from genre fiction into works of high literature” according to the New York Times Book Review.

In le Carré’s world of spies, there are no easy contrasts between the good guys and the bad guys, everyone is guilty, and everyone is on trial for the lies, betrayals, and deceptions that defined spycraft during the Cold War. Whom can you trust? The answer: almost nobody. Legacy is a cautionary tale, a reminder that moral compromise has consequences. Le Carré asks, “How far can we go in the rightful defense of our western values, without abandoning them along the way?” Do the ends justify the means? How has the cold war legacy influenced contemporary espionage and intelligence-gathering methods?

What lends le Carré's work its timelessness is the way in which it renders fully the emotional lives of men and women whose moral fabric has been warped by the elaborate lies their profession demands they live. They might die violent deaths but what resonates more profoundly is the way they often seem to slowly disintegrate well before the end arrives, victims of whatever sliver of humanness they were unable to suppress. With an expertise that has not dulled even as the author nears his 90th birthday, le Carré delivers characters who flirt with amorality but are never quite so easily categorized. We watch them struggle and, in this novel, the struggle centres on what can reasonably be salvaged from a life lived entirely in the shadows – what can be dragged out into the light and not instantly turn to vapour.

-Omar El Akkad. "Review: John le Carré's A Legacy of Spies is a hard book to put down."
Review of Legacy of Spies by John le Carré . The Globe and Mail, 29 September 2017.  

“I saw the Berlin Wall go up when I was thirty and I saw it come down when I was sixty. I was chronicling my time, from a position of knowledge and sympathy. I lived the passion of my time. And if people tell me that I am a genre writer, I can only reply that spying was the genre of the Cold War.” - John le Carré




Critical Reviews:

“[Le Carré's] novels are so brilliant because they’re emotionally and psychologically absolutely true, but of course they’re novels.”—New York Times Book Review

“Le Carré’s prose remains brisk and lapidary. His wit is intact and rolls as if on casters... I might as well say it: to read this simmering novel is to come in from the cold.”—New York Times

“Le Carré is such a gifted storyteller that he interlaces the cards in his deck so they fit not simply with this book, but with the earlier ones as well.”—The Atlantic

"A kind of eulogy for the present as well as the past, A Legacy of Spies is haunting."—Chicago Tribune

"Swift and satisfying."—USA Today

"[Le Carré] can convey a character in a sentence, land an emotional insight in [a] phrase & demolish an ideology in a paragraph."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Le Carré is 85 now and has a new book, “A Legacy of Spies,” his 24th novel. If “Legacy” isn’t among Le Carré’s very best, it’s entirely readable and often ingenious, in part because it amounts to a sequel, more than 50 years later, to “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.” – The Washington Post

“…. the author can revisit his best-known story and discover layer upon layer of fresh deception beneath it.” - Kirkus

About the Book

John le Carré revisits the events from the classics The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, recasting them in the light of our current concerns and values.

Former spy Peter Guillam is enjoying retirement in Brittany when he’s summoned to MI6 headquarters (“the Circus”) in London to answer for the tragic outcome of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. That operation, in which an agent pretended to betray his country for Germany and innocent life was lost, has remained covered up even within the Circus for decades. But a potential new wrongful death lawsuit has prompted the Circus to interrogate itself. Guillam is forced to search the files and his own memories, told in flashbacks, to explain and justify Cold War-era operations that were often ruthlessly brutal and resulted in the sacrifice of agents and informers in the service of the country. As he does so, he finds himself in a changed world, but one in which loyalties are no less convoluted and no less cold.

About John le Carré

John le Carré is the pen name of David John Moore Cornwell. He was born in Poole, Dorset, England in 1931. Cornwell was recruited by the British Army Intelligence Corps in 1950 while he was attending Bern University in Switzerland. Fluent in German, his work involved interrogating Germans who had fled East Germany. After returning to England in 1952 to study at Oxford, he joined Britain’s domestic security service, MI5. In 1960, he transferred to the foreign intelligence service, MI6 and was stationed in Bonn, West Germany undercover as a Second Secretary at the British Embassy. While working for MI6, Cornwell began his writing career. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, his third book, became an international bestseller and secured him a worldwide reputation in 1963. Shortly after, his cover blown, Cornwell left MI6 to become a full-time author. In the decades since, he has won numerous awards for his work including the Somerset Maugham Award and the Goethe Medal. In 2008, The Times ranked him 22nd on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” Author Ian McEwan said that le Carré “will be remembered as perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain.” The New York Times noted that le Carré “has virtually single-handedly elevated spy novels from genre fiction to works of high literature.” Le Carré has written 24 books and, at age 86, is still writing. His books are consistently on the bestseller lists and many have been made into films. He lives in Cornwall, England with his second wife.

About Joseph Kanon

Joseph Kanon is the author of eight novels, Defectors, Los Alamos, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel; The Good German, which was made into a film with George Clooney and Cate Blanchett; Stardust; The Prodigal Spy; Istanbul Passage; Alibi, which earned Kanon the Hammett Award of the International Association of Crime Writers., and Leaving Berlin, a New York Times Notable Book that was also named one of the best books of 2015 by both the Wall Street Journal and NPR. Kanon is also a recipient of The Anne Frank Human Writers Award for his writings on the aftermath of the Holocaust. Before becoming a full-time writer, Kanon was a book-publishing executive. He lives in New York City with his wife, literary agent Robin Straus. They have two sons.

Find a Copy of A Legacy of Spies

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Film Discussion with Bob Coscarelli on The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965)
Sunday, March 18, 2 p.m. in the Auditorium
Alec Leamas (Richard Burton) is a cold-war spy soon to embark on one final dangerous mission to East Germany. His relationship with a beautiful librarian (Clair Bloom) puts his assignment in jeopardy with tragic consequences. Based on John le Carré’s best-selling novel and directed by Martin Ritt. Click here for more information about this film. Presented with the Highland Park Senior Center. Sponsored by Warren Barr North Shore.

Book Discussion on A Legacy of Spies 
Wednesday, April 11, 7 p.m. in the Meeting Room
Davis Schneiderman, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of English at Lake Forest College leads the discussion of A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré. 

Surveillance and Electronic Countermeasures
Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m. in the Auditorium
Lecture.  Perry Myers, president of Myers Service Inc. Investigations and of U-Spy Enterprises, brings his expertise to a discussion of personal surveillance methods and equipment, security evaluations, investigations, and countersurveillance. 


Uncovering Le Carré and Spy Fiction: Author Event with Joseph Kanon 
Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m. in the Adult Services Room
Bestselling author Joseph Kanon will discuss the writing career of John le Carré and his influence on the espionage genre.  Joseph Kanon, winner of the Edgar Award for Los Alamos, is a notable author of spy fiction.  His titles include The Prodigal SpyIstanbul PassageThe Good GermanLeaving Berlin, and Defectors.

Add to Calendar 04/15/2018 02:00 PM 04/15/2018 3:00 PM America/Chicago Uncovering Le Carré and Spy Fiction: Author Event with Joseph Kanon Bestselling author Joseph Kanon will discuss the writing career of John le Carré and his influence on the espionage genre. Joseph Kanon, winner of the Edgar Award for Los Alamos, is a notable author of spy fiction. His titles include The Prodigal Spy, Istanbul Passage, The Good German, Leaving Berlin, and The Defectors. Adult Services Room


Surveillance & the Constitution: What I Told the NSA with Geoffrey R. Stone 
Sunday, April 29, 2 p.m. in the Adult Services Room
Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, an expert on national security, and the author of many books on constitutional law.  His most recent book is Sex and the Constitution.  He served as dean of the University of Chicago Law School from 1987-1994 and Provost of the University of Chicago from 1994-2002. In 1991, Prof. Stone invited a third-year Harvard Law School student, Barack Obama, to become visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.  In 2013, President Obama appointed Prof. Stone to a five-person review group to evaluate the NSA's surveillance program following the Edward Snowden revelations. Prof. Stone will discuss the group's findings and recommendations. 

Add to Calendar 04/29/2018 02:00 PM 04/29/2018 3:00 PM America/Chicago Surveillance & the Constitution: What I Told the NSA with Geoffrey R. Stone Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, an expert on national security, and the author of many books on constitutional law. His most recent book is Sex and the Constitution. He served as dean of the University of Chicago Law School from 1987-1994 and Provost of the University of Chicago from 1994-2002. In 1991, Prof. Stone invited a third-year Harvard Law School student, Barack Obama, to become visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. In 2013, President Obama appointed Prof. Stone to a five-person review group to evaluate the NSA's surveillance program following the Edward Snowden revelations. Prof. Stone will discuss the group's findings and recommendations. Adult Services Room

Related Espionage Programs at the Library this Spring:

Discussions with Davis
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris Thursday, February 15, 7 p.m.
Defectors by Joseph Kanon Wednesday, March 7, 7 p.m. (Author visit 4/15 @ 2 p.m.)
The Quiet American by Graham Greene Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m.

Book Discussion with Judy Levin
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn Tuesday, April 10, 1 p.m.

Espionage Film Series with Bob Coscarelli
Goldfinger (1964) Sunday, February 18, 2 p.m. 
Three Days of the Condor (1975) Sunday, April 22, 2 p.m.

Uncover More 

John le Carré 
Call for the Dead (1961)
A Murder of Quality (1962)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)
The Looking Glass War (1965)
A Small Town in Germany (1968)
The Naïve and Sentimental Lover (1971)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977)
Smiley's People (1979)
The Little Drummer Girl (1983)
A Perfect Spy (1986)
The Russia House (1989)
The Secret Pilgrim (1990)
The Night Manager (1993)
Our Game (1995)
The Tailor of Panama (1996)
Single & Single (1999)
The Constant Gardener (2001)
Absolute Friends (2003)
The Mission Song (2006)
A Most Wanted Man (2008)
Our Kind of Traitor (2010)
A Delicate Truth (2013)

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (2016)

More Notable Spy Fiction
Defectors by Joseph Kanon - F KANON, J. 
A Single Spy by William Christie - F CHRISTIE, W. 
Quantum Spy by David Ignatius - F IGNATIUS, D. 
Dead Line by Stella Rimington - F RIMINGTON, S. 
Morning Spy, Evening Spy by Colin MacKinnon - F MACKINNON, C. 
The World at Night by Alan Furst - F FURST, A. 
Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva - F SILVA 
Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell - MYS MANKELL, H. 
Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum - F LUDLUM, R. 
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - F FOLLETT, K. 
Day of the Jackal by Fredrick Forsyth - F FORSYTH, F. 
Ipcress File by Len Deighton - F DEIGHTON, L. 
The Quiet American by Graham Greene - F GREENE, G. 
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - F FLEMING, I. 
Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler - F AMBLER, E. 
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan - MYS BUCHAN, J. 
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad - F CONRAD, J. 
Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers - F CHILDERS, E. 
Kim by Rudyard Kipling - F KIPLING, R. 

Revolutionary War 

The Martyr and the Traitor : Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution by Virginia DeJohn Anderson - 973.385 An55  
George Washington's Secret Spy War : the Making of America's First Spymaster by John A. Nagy - 973.385 N152 E-book also available via CloudLibrary 

Russian Revolution 
Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale - 947.0841 L566m 

World War II Era 
Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy : Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 by Nicholas E. Reynolds - 813 H48 Zrey E-book also available via OverDrive/Libby 
Agent 110 : an American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII by Scott Miller - 940.5486 M651 
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare : the Mavericks who Plotted Hitler's Defeat by Giles Milton - 940.548641 M662 
MacArthur's Spies : the Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster who Defied the Japanese in World War II by Peter Eisner - 940.5486 Ei36 
Dadland by Keggie Karew - B C272c 
The Last Goodnight : a World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal by Howard Blum - 940.5486 B876b E-book also available via OverDrive/Libby 
Operation Whisper : the Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen by Barnes Carr - 327.1247073 C678c  
The Secret War : Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings - 940.5485 H358 CD audiobook also available 
True Believer : Stalin's Last American Spy by Kati Marton - 327.1247073 F455m CD audiobook also available 
Avenue of Spies : a True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied France by Alex Kershaw - 940.5344 K41 E-book also available via OverDrive/Libby 
The Ingenious Mr. Pyke : Inventor, Fugitive, Spy by Henry Hemming - B P995 E-audiobook also available via OverDrive/Libby 

Cold War/Late 20th Century 
Agent M : the Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight by Henry Hemming - 327.12092 K71h 
Deep Undercover : My Secret Life & Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America by Jack Barsky with Cindy Coloma - 327.1247 B282 
Finks : How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers by Joel Whitney - 327.1273 W619 
The Ghost : the Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton by Jefferson Morley - 327.1273 An58m 
The Ghosts of Langley : into the CIA's Heart of Darkness by John Prados - 327.1273 P896g 
King of Spies : the Dark Reign of America's spymaster in Korea by Blaine Harden - 327.12 H259 
Spies in the Family : an American Spymaster, His Russian Crown Jewel, and the Friendship that Helped End the Cold War by Eva Dillon - 327.12092 D579 
The Taking of K-129 : How the CIA used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History by Josh Dean - 327.1273 D281 
The Man with the Poison Gun : a Cold War Spy Story by Serhii Plokhy - 327.1247 St79p 
The Pigeon Tunnel : Stories from My Life by John le Carré - 823 L456 CD audiobook also available; E-book also available via CloudLibrary and OverDrive/Libby 
The President's Book of Secrets : the Untold story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama by David Priess - 327.1273 P949 
Queen of Spies : Daphne Park, Britain's Cold War Spy Master by Paddy Hayes - B P235 
Stalin's Englishman : Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and the Cambridge Spy Ring by Andrew Lownie - 327.12092 B955L 
The Billion Dollar Spy : a True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman - 327.12092 H699 E-audiobook also available via OverDrive/Libby 
The Devil's Chessboard : Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot - 327.1273 T138 E-audiobook also available via OverDrive/Libby 
Near and Distant Neighbors : a New History of Soviet Intelligence by Jonathan Haslam - 327.1247 H352 
Strangers on a Bridge : the case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers by James B. Donovan - 327.1247073 D687 

Vietnam War 
A Great Place to Have a War : America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA  by Joshua Kurlantzick - 959.7043 K96 

Yom Kippur War 
The Angel : the Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel by Uri Bar-Joseph - 327.125694 M391b 

21st Century 
Foxtrot in Kandahar : a Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America's Longest War by Duane Evans - 958.1047 Ev92 
How America Lost Its Secrets : Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft by Edward Jay Epstein - 327.1273 Ep64 E-book also available via OverDrive/Libby 
A Very Expensive Poison : the Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin's War with the West by Luke Harding - 327.1247 H263 
Company Confessions : Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA by Christopher R. Moran - 327.1273 M829 
The Ghost Warriors : Inside Israel's Undercover War against Suicide Terrorism by Samuel M. Katz - 327.125694 K19  
Left of Boom : How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux - 958.104 L391 
Missing Man : the American Spy who Vanished in Iran by Barry Meier - 327.12092 L665 
The Spy Who Couldn't Spell : a Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI's Hunt for America's Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee - 327.12092 R333b E-book also available via CloudLibrary and OverDrive/Libby 
How to Catch a Russian Spy : the True Story of an American Civilian Turned Double Agent by Naveed Jamali - 327.12092 J27  
Lords of Secrecy : the National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare by Scott Horton - 327.1273 H823 

General History/Current State of Espionage and Intelligence 
Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA by Timothy H. Edgar - 323.448 Ed23
Democracy Betrayed : the Rise of the Surveillance Security State by William W. Keller - 363.232 K29 
The Hacked World Order : How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age by Adam Segal - 364.168 Se45 
The Secret State : a History of Intelligence and Espionage by John Hughes-Wilson - 327.12 H894 
Spy Schools : How the CIA, FBI, and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities by Daniel Golden - 327.1273 G618 
Unwarranted : Policing without Permission by Barry Friedman - 363.232 F911 
Whistleblower at the CIA : a Path of Dissent by Melvin A. Goodman - 327.1273 G653 
Cyberspies : the Secret History of Surveillance, Hacking, and Digital Espionage by Gordon Corera - 364.168 C797 E-audiobook also available via OverDrive/Libby 
Playing to the Edge : American Intelligence in the Age of Terror by Michael V. Hayden - 327.1273 H415 E-book also available via OverDrive/Libby 
Twilight Warriors : the Soldiers, Spies, and Special Agents Who Are Revolutionizing the American Way of War by James Kitfield - 355.033573 K62 
Democracy in the Dark : the Seduction of Government Secrecy by Frederick A. O. Schwarz - 352.379 Sch41 
Surprise Attack : from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to Benghazi by Larry J. Hancock - 327.1273 H234 
They Know Everything about You : How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies are Destroying Democracy by Robert Scheer - 323.448 Sch31 
The New Spymasters : Inside the Modern World of Espionage from the Cold War to Global Terror by Stephen Grey - 327.12 G845 
The NSA Report : Liberty and Security in a Changing World by the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies ; Richard A. Clarke, Michael J. Morell, Geoffrey R. Stone, Cass R. Sunstein, and Peter Swire - 323.448 P933 
Espionage and Covert Operations : a Global History (Great Courses) by Vejas G. Liulevicius - CD 327.12 L783