A Brotherhood of Spies by Monte Reel

5/5 Stars.

A Brotherhood of Spies: The U-2 and the CIA’s Secret War will be published on May 8, 2018 and I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. I was able to read it through NetGalley.com – a website where reviewers can request books to read before they are published. I am so very glad I requested and was approved for this book.

Monte Reel tells the story of Frank Powers, Edwin Land, Kelly Johnson, Richard Bissell, and other key players in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s during the Cold War. I have never taken an interest in history – in school I focused my time on math and science. Reading textbooks and memorizing facts was all too boring for me. Reel, however, maintained my focus for all 368 pages. I remember little of the Cold War era from history class (which is of no fault of my history teachers), but when it was presented as a story instead of bulleted facts, I couldn’t stop reading.

If you have seen the film Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, you know part of the story portrayed in A Brotherhood of Spies. Reel, however, does not use artistic license in his storytelling as Spielberg uses in the film. I love this about books. A book does not need to be beyond the scope of imagination to gauge interest. Powers’ story is interesting in and of itself, it does not require extra dramatics. The film, however, alters history a bit to make the plot more appealing to the viewer. Now for anyone that thinks it is an accurate account of the story is misinformed. But I digress.

One thing that I sincerely appreciated in Reel’s telling of history was that he didn’t make any assumptions about the reader. He didn’t assume my complete knowledge of the Bay of Pigs or the Cuban Missile Crisis. He didn’t assume I knew any of the names of the key players in that time. He presented each part of history as though I had little to no background. It made it very easy for someone with such a terrible memory and lack of historical interest, such as myself, to understand. Furthermore, as there were so many people involved in this story besides the four names mentioned above, Reel did an excellent job referring back to each person. I did not feel I had to make a webbed chart of all the people and their interactions to understand who was who. He made it easy to follow.

Anyways, if I have not made it clear enough, I would highly recommend diving into this story on May 8th. You will not regret it. Unfortunately, I am unable to include any quotes from the book as things could change leading up to the publication. I do have numerous highlights, though, so I will try to remember to come back and update this post once it has been published.



What are your favorite nonfiction books? Would love to add more to my list.



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