British Espionage Author Discusses Books about 9/11 and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Signed by John Le Carré

Item: 20205
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CARRÉ, JOHN LE (DAVID CORNWELL). (b. 1931). British intelligence officer and author of some of the best-known works in the espionage genre. ALS. (“David”).  Le Carré’s name appears in full within the letter. 2pp. 4to. Penzance, August 28, 2008. On his personal stationery. To his friend Willard J. Morse Jr., an obstetrician in Maine.

No idea who James Wood is. It reads thus: John/le/Carré, three words, lower case l, & who gives a damn? McCain is nobody, which makes him eligible. I love ‘Memorial Day? Thanks. My heart is so much with you, and I understand the wretchedness of seeing so much & feeling impotent. Read ‘The Dark Side’ – Janet Mayer – ‘The Torture Team’ – Philippe Sands – ‘The Looming Tower’ – forget who by, & felt bemused. Wrote a book called ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ coming out in US in October. I don’t expect anyone but you to get it. We’ll see. All the very best to you both, & the geese, & the goslings…

John Le Carre

Born David Cornwell in Dorset, le Carré, as he would later be known, was abandoned by his mother at age 5 and raised by his father, Ronald “Ronnie” Cornwell, who was a known associate of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, frequently in debt and once imprisoned for insurance fraud. After attending public school and studying foreign languages in Switzerland, le Carré was recruited by the British Intelligence Corps and interrogated defectors from East Germany. Following his studies at Oxford, he began work as a spy, first for MI5 and, later MI6.

His first work of fiction, featuring George Smiley, was published in 1961. His best known works are The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Tailor of Panama, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Constant Gardener, published in 2001. In our letter, le Carré mentions his 2008 espionage novel A Most Wanted Man, a critique of George W. Bush’s policy of extraordinary rendition. Le Carré was a vocal critic of British Prime Minister Tony Bair, Bush and the American-led coalition’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. In our letter he refers to American Republican Senator John McCain as a “nobody.” McCain was a supporter of Bush as well the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, at the time of our letter, the Republican nominee for president. He was defeated by his Senate colleague Barack Obama.

Le Carré’s recommended reading reflects his opposition to these wars, including The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals published in July 2008 by Jane Mayer; Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law by Philippe Sands and The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. He also lauds the espionage novel Memorial Day by Vince Flynn, the fifth in his series featuring CIA agent Mitch Rapp.

It is possible that our letter refers to British literary critic and writer James Wood (b.1965), a critic of le Carré’s works. In fine condition.

British Espionage Author Discusses Books about 9/11 and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Signed by John Le Carré

$500 • item #20205

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