What We’re Reading: Remembering le Carre

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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Editor’s Note: David John Moore Cornwell, better known by his pen name, John le Carre, died on Dec. 12 at the age of 89. Though he’s the most celebrated spy novelist of all time, thanks in part to his service with British intelligence, it’d be a mistake to describe him merely as a genre writer. Cold War intrigue was simply the palette he used to paint pictures of characters wrestling with the same themes as those in so-called higher literature: moral ambiguity, duty, doubt, loyalty and betrayal, institutional folly and so on. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a couple of reviews of his work as a small tribute to his career. We at GPF would like to think he’s Smiley down on us from that Swiss Chalet in the Sky. The Honourable Schoolboy Like all John le Carre spy novels, “The Honourable Schoolboy” is thick with mystery and mayhem. The book is at times more confusing than his more famous novels, its plot a bit more difficult to follow and its denouement less neatly constructed. I consider this a feature, not a bug, as it better reflects the reality of the intelligence game – as well as any […]

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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.
Cole Altom
Cole Altom is the managing editor at Geopolitical Futures. He oversees the publishing department, which curates the website, develops Geopolitical Futures’ editorial strategy, consults with analysts, liaises with marketing and maintains the integrity of all published material. Before joining Geopolitical Futures, Mr. Altom worked at Stratfor for seven years, during which time, as managing editor, he handled special projects, served as personnel director for the publishing department, ran the internship program, managed website taxonomy, tracked website analytics, developed new content types and edited and copyedited published material. Mr. Altom earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science at Trinity University in San Antonio. He is a certified English teacher and is conversant in Spanish.