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Now in paperback, and following her extraordinary, bestselling, and much-acclaimed accounts of the most guarded secrets of the Second World War, here is a rollicking true story of spies, politicians, journalists, and intrigue in the highest circles of Washington during the tumultuous days of World War II.
When Roald Dahl, a dashing young wounded RAF pilot, took up his post at the British Embassy in 1942, his assignment was to use his good looks, wit, and considerable charm to gain access to the most powerful figures in American political life. Better than any spy fiction, The Irregulars is a fascinating, lively account of deceit, double dealing, and moral ambiguityall in the name of victory. Richly detailed and carefully researched, Conants masterful narrative is based on never-before-seen wartime letters, diaries, and interviews. Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Long before Willy Wonka sent out those five Golden Tickets, Roald Dahl lived a life that was more James Bond than James and the Giant Peach. After blinding headaches cut short his distinguished career as a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Dahl became part of an elite group of British spies working against the United States' neutrality at the onset of World War II. The Irregulars is a brilliant profile of Dahl's lesser-known profession, embracing a real-life storyline of suave debauchery, clandestine motives, and afternoon cocktails. If this sounds oddly familiar, it's no coincidence: both Ian Fleming (the creator of 007) and Bill Stephenson (the legendary spymaster rumored to be the inspiration for Bond) were members of the same outfit. Although "Dahl...Roald Dahl" doesn't quite carry the same debonair ring, there is no discrediting this fascinating look at the British author's covert service to the Allied cause during WWII. --Dave Callanan