Download King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America's Spymaster in Korea Audiobook

King of Spies: The Dark Reign of Americas Spymaster in Korea Audiobook, by Blaine Harden Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Blaine Harden Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Penguin Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2017 ISBN: 9780525500056
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The New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14 returns with the untold story of one of the most powerful spies in American history, shedding new light on the U.S. role in the Korean War, and its legacy In 1946, master sergeant Donald Nichols was repairing jeeps on the sleepy island of Guam when he caught the eye of recruiters from the army's Counter Intelligence Corps. After just three months' training, he was sent to Korea, then a backwater beneath the radar of MacArthur's Pacific Command. Though he lacked the pedigree of most U.S. spies—Nichols was a 7th grade dropout—he quickly metamorphosed from army mechanic to black ops phenomenon. He insinuated himself into the affections of America’s chosen puppet in South Korea, President Syngman Rhee, and became a pivotal player in the Korean War, warning months in advance about the North Korean invasion, breaking enemy codes, and identifying most of the targets destroyed by American bombs in North Korea. But Nichols's triumphs had a dark side. Immersed in a world of torture and beheadings, he became a spymaster with his own secret base, his own covert army, and his own rules. He recruited agents from refugee camps and prisons, sending many to their deaths on reckless missions. His closeness to Rhee meant that he witnessed—and did nothing to stop or even report—the slaughter of tens of thousands of South Korean civilians in anticommunist purges. Nichols’s clandestine reign lasted for an astounding eleven years. In this riveting book, Blaine Harden traces Nichols's unlikely rise and tragic ruin, from his birth in an operatically dysfunctional family in New Jersey to his sordid postwar decline, which began when the U.S. military sacked him in Korea, sent him to an air force psych ward in Florida, and subjected him—against his will—to months of electroshock therapy. But King of Spies is not just the story of one American spy. It is a groundbreaking work of narrative history that—at a time when North Korea is threatening the United States with long-range nuclear missiles—explains the origins of an intractable foreign policy mess. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “For readers interested in Korea, the Korean War, or US intelligence operations, this is a must-read. Harden raises troubling questions about US conduct in the Korean War.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A good yarn and a timely one—appearing as Americans are once again pondering the possibility of war with North Korea.”

    Washington Post

  • “Fascinating…The author ably connects his ominous central figure to the larger mysterious, unresolved narrative of the Korean conflict. An engrossing hidden history of wartime espionage, with elements of derring-do and moral barbarity.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Blaine Harden has done what no one else thought to do in seven decades: He’s brought us the full, secret, astonishing story of one of the most improbably powerful characters in American history, and he has done so with crystalline writing and in jaw-dropping detail.”

    Steve Twomey, author of Countdown to Pearl Harbor

  • “A thrilling real-life spy story told by a terrific writer.”

    Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes

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About the Author

Blaine Harden is a contributor to the Economist and has formerly served as the Washington Post’s bureau chief in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. He is the author of Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent and A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, more than thirty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has repeatedly been named by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly among their “Best Voices of the Year.” He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.