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Ashenden, or, The British Agent by William…

Ashenden, or, The British Agent (edition 2000)

by William Somerset Maugham

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5391118,630 (3.74)56
Title:Ashenden, or, The British Agent
Authors:William Somerset Maugham
Info:Vintage (2000), Editie: New Ed, Paperback, 326 pagina's
Collections:Your library, 2012
Tags:stories, english literature, british literature

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Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham



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The writing is excellent but the stories conveyed very little. The television mini-series was in some ways more interesting...but also more casually plotted. Also, while the stories didn't struggle to link individual events the episodes did, making them, at some points, a bit preposterous.

The book is interesting for its portrayal of the static nature of WWI. People travel in Europe, indeed in France, with no real apprehension that any armies will show up or that they will be shot up. Meanwhile, the war in the trenches goes on, killing everybody of the appropriate age. In contrast, tt seems that WWII more or less saturated all Europe with its violence. ( )
  themulhern | Jul 28, 2013 |
I was in the earlier years of high school when I read this book and I did not find it memorable. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 19, 2013 |
This is the best spy book I have read. And it is deemed to be the best spy book by more authors and book lists than I can count. It is a quiet book about a spy-master around WWI (written by an ex-spy), so don't go into it expecting James Bond. Go into it expecting a more true-to-life depiction of what it is (or was) like to be a spy. But if you are not put off by quiet books, and can separate real life from fiction, you will probably love it. Highly recommended. ( )
  tnilsson | Jan 25, 2013 |
Ashenden is a playwright who works for the British secret service as a spy in Europe during WWI. It’s based on Maugham’s own experiences. This is billed these days as a novel, but it’s also been published as Volume 3 of the short stories of W. Somerset Maugham. Ashenden is detached and sophisticated. He meets with shady characters who provide information, unmasks frauds and lures enemy agents to their deaths. There’s no plot as such, except in the individual stories, or some times in a series of 2 or 3 stories. The organization is chronological, with the last story about a mission to subvert the Russian Revolution, which happens too quickly for Ashenden to get his ducks in order. Reputedly the character of Ashenden inspired Ian Fleming’s creation of James Bond.Quirky characters are the interest in this book. There’s Chandra Lal, an Indian revolutionary working on the German side, whom Ashenden lures to his death using his lover as bait. There’s the “hairless Mexican” who’s an assassin hired by Ashenden’s boss, R., the head of the Secret Service. There’s Ashenden’s ex-lover, Anastasia Alexandrovna whom he meets again in Moscow and John Quincy Harrington, a naïve American businessman whom Ashenden meets on the Trans-Siberia railway to Moscow to get business contracts signed. ( )
1 vote fourbears | Apr 24, 2010 |
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It was not till the beginning of September that Ashenden, a writer by profession, who had been abroad at the outbreak of the war, managed to get back to England.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099289709, Paperback)

2000 Vintage(Random House Group) trade PB, 7th printing, British Import. Read Somerset Maugham?(The Razor's Edge,Of Human Bondage) Tremendously popular in his day as play-write and author, he was sent to Switzerland as an agent by the British Secret Service when WW I broke out. This collection of stories, in all their brutality and absurdity, is based on his experiences.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A celebrated writer by the time the war broke out in 1914, Somerset Maugham was dispatched by the Secret Service to Lucerne - under the guise of completing a play. An assignment whose danger and drama appealed both to his sense of romance and of the ridiculous. The stories collected in ASHENDEN are rooted in Maugham's own experiences as an agent, reflecting the ruthlessness and brutality of espionage, its intrigue and treachery, as well as absurdity.… (more)

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