The social agent: A True Intrigue of Sex, Spies and Heartbreak Behind the Iron Curtain by Charles Laurence

Dec 29, 2011

As a child of the British Ambassador, the author of this book grew up in 1950s Prague. Today as an accomplished journalist, he returned to discover the truth about childhood memories that have haunted him all his life. In this non-fiction book, Laurence shares stories of his childhood in Prague and times long lost.

He wanted to discover the dark family secrets kept behind the Iron Curtain. What he really wanted to know was whether his father was truly a foreign diplomat, or a skillful spy.  His journalistic background and past connections helped him uncover stories about his parents and their diplomatic circles.  He also discovers the special role his mother played in the spy game.

He describes the cold war as a dark era of espionage and counterespionage webs that circled all fronts.  Upon his return, Laurence visited his parents hoping that he would be able to discuss his findings with them.

What also drew me to the book was that one of his close childhood friends was Jiri Mucha, the son of famous Czech Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha.  Charles Laurence wrote a great snapshot of lives behind the iron curtain, filled with spies, lies and deceit that reflected its dark times.

Reviewed by Library Staff