Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Roald Dahl’s fascinating life

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I know Roald Dahl as the writer of some biting short stories and, of course, as the husband of Patricia Neal. But he did much more, as it turns out. Here’s a review of a biography. It begins:

In March 1942 Roald Dahl, a British airman who had been severely wounded in battle, was informed that he had been posted to the British Embassy in Washington as an assistant air attache. “When he heard the news,” Jennet Conant writes, “Dahl protested, ‘Oh no, sir, please, sir — anything but that, sir!” He was 26 years old and wanted to be in the thick of things, not shoved aside in a desk job an ocean away from the battlefront. Not long after reaching Washington, though, Dahl was “caught up in the complex web of intrigue masterminded by [William] Stephenson, the legendary Canadian spymaster, who outmaneuvered the FBI and State Department and managed to create an elaborate clandestine organization whose purpose was to weaken the isolationist forces in America and influence U.S. policy in favor of Britain.” Conant continues:

“Tall, handsome, and intelligent, Dahl had all the makings of an ideal operative. A courageous officer wounded in battle, smashing looking in his dress uniform, he was everything England could have asked for as a romantic representative of their imperiled island. He was also arrogant, idiosyncratic, and incorrigible, and probably the last person anyone would have considered reliable enough to be trusted with anything secret. Above all, however, Dahl was a survivor. When he got into trouble, he was shrewd enough to make himself useful to British intelligence, providing them with gossipy items that proved he had a nose for scandal and the writer’s ear for damning detail. Already attached to the British air mission in Washington, he came equipped with the perfect cover story, and his easy wit and conspicuous charm guaranteed him entree to the drawing rooms — and bedrooms — of the rich and powerful.”

This is a part of Dahl’s life that is not generally known. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2008 at 8:38 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

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