Customer Reviews for

The Honourable Schoolboy

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

    Another Nookbook That Can't Be Read

    This is a great book but it can't be comfortably read on a Nookcolor because the font size is either too small or too big. This is entirely the fault of Barnes&Noble and their ridiculous limited font size settings. If B&N allowed the choice of font size (by point size, for example) then everyone could read at their chosen level. As it stands B&N is missing sales by not providing the kind of accessibility that many people buy a Nookcolor for in the first place.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2006

    It's good but ....

    You have to read it to make the transition from Tinker Tailor to Smiley's People. However, it's not about Smiley and it's not about his battle for Karla. It's about his battle to focus the Circus and the effects that espionage has on the people who engage in it. The story is long, it's difficult to slog through but you must in order to fully appreciate the final story in the trilogy. Worst of all, the most difficult part of the story is the beginning. Fight through it though. It's ultimately worth it though you most likely won't understand why until you get about 1/2 through Smiley's People.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "old men talk about themselves, studying their image in vanished mirrors."

    David John Moore Cornwell (b. 1931), better known as John Le Carre, has written better spy thrillers than THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY (1977). Think of THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD and A SMALL TOWN IN GERMANY. THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY is an average fictional portrayal of a tired, uncertain, no longer great Britain carrying on in the mid-1970s Rudyard Kipling's "great game" against Russia of the glory years of Queen Victoria. That game has been portrayed deftly and in several hundred fewer pages in Kipling's KIM than in Le Carre's 1977 ho hum tale of Brits versus Russkis in Hong Kong and its East Asian neighborhood. *** At novel's beginning in 1973 the great Russian spymaster Karla has nearly wrecked Britain's famed secret service ("the Circus"). Playing an intelligent, conscientious but plodding Sherlock Holmes to Karla's evil genius, the UK's George Smiley is called out of retirement to plug massive leaks to the Soviets masterminded for decades by Kim Philby-reminiscent Bill Haydon, a mole risen high within London's Circus. Smiley outs Haydon, his wife Anne's cousin and sometime lover, clears up the mess caused by Karla and works to learn whatever lessons he can by "backtracking" Karla. What had Karla been up to that caused mole Haydon to take such desperate measures to keep it from being discovered? *** In a few weeks, on the basis of plodding intelligence work by a small trusted core of Smiley devotees and overseas field agents of the Circus, Smiley finds that Karla has funneled the huge (for Karla) sum of $500,000 to a trust fund in Hong Kong. Is the USSR planning to use that largest remaining gem of the once mighty British Empire to launch operations against Red China? What is the role of two Swatownese brothers, one a free-wheeling, amoral capitalist in the Crown Colony and the other possibly a high ranking Soviet mole in China? This is what THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY is about. *** Aristocratic, womanizing, morally flawed Clive Gerald (Jerry) Westerby is "The Honourable Schoolboy," a name given to him by the postmistress of the small Italian community where he lives in retirement from the Circus. Westerby, an experienced agent, had been sidelined by mole Haydon and is resuscitated by Smiley and sent to East Asia as part of the Circus's anti-Karla effort to rehabilitate itself. It takes a mere five chapters to learn Westerby's full name. *** Jerry Westerby proves a rogue elephant, impossible for his mentor George Smiley to keep from running amok. As much as anything, the sprawling THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY is about the differing world views of two tired old spies: Smiley and Westerby, neither's views possessing much depth or relevance to the collapsing pro-Western regimes of 1970s Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodia or Hong Kong, soon to be reabsorbed into China. *** A medium large theme of this novel is the bureaucratic maneuvering by which America's CIA pushes aside the British Secret Service in its own colony, Hong Kong. It is the CIA, not Smiley's Circus, that in the end takes decisive action against Karla's bad guy. This is a novel of an aging British Empire and its aging, worn down spies, being overwhelmed by legions of fresh young better paid American secret agents. THE HONOURABLE SCHOOL BOY is about flagging Britain and ground down British patriots. It is a tale about when "old men talk about themselves, studying their image in vanished mirrors" (Ch. 11). -OOO-

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    Le Carre The Honourable Schoolboy, part of the Smiley collection

    This represents one of a number of novels that le Carre wrote. Initially he discounted any possible experience he might have had with British intelligence, although the reality was unmistakable. The consistency of the books and the reality of events and particularly physical places was unmistakable. Eventually, having retired, he admitted that he had worked in security. This stands out as probably the most honest evaluation of the lifestyle and mentality of someone who works in that field, up to and including the admission of the constant and lingering paranoia of the survivors.

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    I love the way you're plunged into the murky, ambiguous, unapolo

    I love the way you're plunged into the murky, ambiguous, unapologetic, and frequently funny world of George Smiley, et al.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

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    Posted February 12, 2013

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    Posted July 10, 2011

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    Posted July 28, 2011

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    Posted April 4, 2012

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    Posted January 15, 2012

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    Posted March 3, 2012

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    Posted August 22, 2011

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    Posted October 3, 2009

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    Posted October 2, 2011

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Posted August 15, 2011

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    Posted November 11, 2011

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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