King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea by Blaine Harden

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King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea Read Online Free - From the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the shocking, gripping account of the most powerful American spy you’ve never heard of, whose role at the center of the Korean War—which gave rise to the North Korean regime—is essential to understanding the most intractable foreign policy conflict of our time.

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: with napalmed villages and severed heads, high-level lies and long-running cover-ups, it reminds us that the darkest sins of the Vietnam War—and many other conflicts that followed—were first committed in Korea.

Title : King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 052542993X
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 pages


Septimus rated it ★★★★★

November 19, 2017

A top nonfiction title for anyone even remotely interested in spies, political/military history, or the Korean War. Blaine Harden is a consummate writer and researcher. This book is expertly structured, with unfailing prose and heady storytelling. Never a dull moment. King of Spies details the lif...

Aaron rated it ★★★☆☆

January 31, 2018

3.5 stars. I thought this book was interesting mostly for the Korean War history. A subject I am fairly ignorant on. The geopolitical history of the region and its use as a proxy for the major powers is quite sad. I was unaware of the mass scale bombing of the country - something that is apparent...

Ray rated it ★★★☆☆

December 20, 2017

"King of Spies" is a story of a poor Florida boy who served in the Air Force in Korea and became a key spy master during the Korean War. Much of what is known of Donald Nichols is from his own accounts, much of which is b.s. and self-promotion. Nonetheless, it apparently was true that he did have...

Pam rated it ★★★☆☆

November 23, 2017

A couple of things. This book was very interesting when it talked about the Korean War and the things that led up to it. It was interesting when it talked about Nichols and how he ran his spy ring. But, it wasn't all that detailed. I felt like it was trying super hard to be sensational without a...

Jeffrey rated it ★★★★☆

January 03, 2018

good book on how the US got involved in South Korea after WW2, with emphasis on the secret spy network installed by the Air Force. I knew little about pre-war Korea so this book was full of general info for me. The King of Spies started a brutal network that terrorized both North and South, and a...

Tolani rated it ★★★★☆

January 10, 2018

Little is ever mentioned in history about Donald Nichols, yet if there’s a name you need to know about the one person for who played a huge role during the Korean war, it is Donald Nichols. This was the third book I read by Blaine Harden, and he does a great job of depicting the life of Donald Ni...

Rob rated it ★★★☆☆

November 26, 2017

Not really sure what to make of this main character - is he a victim or victimizer? And his "reign" is surprisingly short, as this book is less than 200 pages and it feels as though most of that is spent on his background and post-war activity. But the book does fill in a few blanks in Korean War...

Dоcтоr rated it ★★★★☆

December 09, 2017

Hard, tough, but an incredible life story. This book is certainly not for everyone, it doesn't not follow some romantic tale of James Bond, vice versa. it tells the life's lesson, that war is hell, and those that fought it will bear the scars internally forever.

Terry rated it ★★★★☆

October 03, 2017

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. I have to admit the book isn't about what I though. However, it was still interesting. Intresting enough that my teenage grandson asked to read it when I was through. I rated it 3.8 stars

Anne rated it ★★★★☆

November 01, 2017

Fascinating read on a key US spy in North Korea after WWII. Turns out Vietnam was Korea 2.0. Napalm - Agent Orange - bombing the north into oblivium - puppet leader in the south. Main difference in outcomes would seem to be the leadership in the North.

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