4 Stars A Capstone Work But Only For Prior Readers
This book has been over-promoted. The ga ga reviews from the fake news mainstream media led by the New York Crimes are probably paid for, and do not accurately represent the value of this book. In a nutshell, it is a good read but only for those who have read all of Le Carre's prior work and particularly the George Smiley series.
Former spies like myself, and incoming trainees, might appreciate the sprinkling of tradecraft throughout the book.
The book earns four stars from in part because it is a ringing indictment of spying — of the epic insouciance of callous deaths, daily betrayal, lives ruined, all for what, at the end of the day, is nothing. I am reminded of the conclusion of one of the books on James Angleton, who at the very end of his life, having destroyed so many other lives with his demented witchhunts at CIA, concluded that his whole life had been worthless, in search of enemies that did not exist.
This is not to say that counterintelligence is not priceless — the USA does not “do” counterintelligence and the US Government is totally penetrated by Wall Street (which created CIA for its own ends, see David Talbot's excellent book The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government), the Vatican, the Zionists, the pedophiles, and more.
This is LeCarre's last gasp. He delivers it with, in his own words, “a rectal grin.” At the very end he offers the final best insight:
“So was it all for England, then? There was a time, of course there was. But whose England? Which England?
One could ask the same here in the USA. US secret intelligence — mostly good people trapped in a bad system — has been owned by the Deep State for too long, and the crimes of that community, from torture to drone assassination to ignorance by design, are long overdue for redress.