Alan Furst

Gripping works of history recommended a master of the espionage tale.

Alan Furst Since the 1988 publication of Night Soldiers, Alan Furst has proven himself one of our era’s masters of the dark and seductive literary art, the espionage tale. In novels like The Spies of the Balkans, Furst creates tales of daring and double-dealing in World War II Europe that yield incisive portraits of human nature under pressure. Here, the author shares three books that open windows on his love of history.

Books by Alan Furst

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

By Graham Robb

“I’m a huge Graham Robb fan, he’s an historical geographer, which is what I would have been if I hadn’t started writing novels. Graham Robb has an extraordinary grasp of why nations, and cities, are what they are–their complex history, weather, language, geography and–surely in the case of the French!–their wondrously elaborate eccentricities. He can also be wildly funny, and I’m not kidding–the reader will laugh out loud, and for a long time.”

Dark Harbor

By Nathan Ward

“This is the true history, the back-story reality, of the Brando film “On the Waterfront,” essentially the tale of the mobsters who ran the New York docks in the 1940s. “Dark Harbor” is a superb evocation, a re-creation done with scrupulous research, of the thugs, the longshoremen, and the brave souls–like “Terry Malloy” in the film– who rose up and fought the mob.”

Koestler: The Literary Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic

By Michael Scammell

“Arthur Koestler, one of the greatest literary voices of the mid-century, author of “Darkness at Noon,” was a complicated individual, and Michael Scammell’s biography is a careful examination of the man and his times. Adventure isn’t really the right word, there’s no way Koestler should have still been alive by the 1950s. But he was, despite a very dark side to his personality, which is gracefully handled by his biographer.”

Gripping history by a leading agent of the espionage tale.