What We’re Reading: Spy Novels in Asia and the Putin Generation

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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The Honourable Schoolboy By John le Carre 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 experience of dropping into a foreign land and trying to understand the real truth of it. But I was drawn to the book mainly by the setting – Cold War-era Hong Kong and Southeast Asia – and by the story behind le Carre’s writing of it. The book is the only one of le Carre’s set in Asia. And it was the first one he wrote on location, a field reporter as much as a novelist. This took him to places in Laos as it was reeling from the United States’ secret war on the country, as well as its own civil war, and into Cambodia behind Khmer Rouge lines. It also took him to Hong Kong as the then-British colony was just beginning to grasp the ways […]

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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.
Antonia Colibasanu
Antonia Colibasanu is Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for overseeing all departments and marketing operations for the company. Dr. Colibasanu joined Geopolitical Futures as a senior analyst in 2016 and frequently speaks on international economics and security topics in Europe. She is also lecturer on international relations at the Romanian National University of Political Studies and Public Administration and associate professor for the Romanian National Defense University Carol I Regional Department of Defense Resources Management Studies. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Dr. Colibasanu spent more than 10 years with Stratfor in various positions, including as partner for Europe and vice president for international marketing. Prior to joining Stratfor in 2006, Dr. Colibasanu held a variety of roles with the World Trade Center Association in Bucharest. Dr. Colibasanu holds a Doctorate in International Business and Economics from Bucharest’s Academy of Economic Studies, where her thesis focused on country risk analysis and investment decision-making processes within transnational companies. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Project Management. She is an alumna of the International Institute on Politics and Economics at Georgetown University.