Beverly Hills Spy by Ronald Drabkin, Hardcover, 9780063310070 | Buy online at The Nile
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Beverly Hills Spy

The Double-Agent War Hero Who Helped Japan Attack Pearl Harbor

Author: Ronald Drabkin  

Hardcover

"In the spirit of Ben Macintyre's greatest spy nonfiction, the truly unbelievable and untold story of Frederick Rutland: a debonair British WWI hero, flying ace, fixture of Los Angeles society, and friend of Golden Age Hollywood stars, who flipped to become a spy for Japan in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor"--

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Summary

"In the spirit of Ben Macintyre's greatest spy nonfiction, the truly unbelievable and untold story of Frederick Rutland: a debonair British WWI hero, flying ace, fixture of Los Angeles society, and friend of Golden Age Hollywood stars, who flipped to become a spy for Japan in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor"--

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Description


In the spirit of Ben Macintyre’s greatest spy nonfiction, the truly unbelievable and untold story of Frederick Rutland—a debonair British WWI hero, flying ace, fixture of Los Angeles society, and friend of Golden Age Hollywood stars—who flipped to become a spy for Japan in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Frederick Rutland was an accomplished aviator, British WWI war hero, and real-life James Bond. He was the first pilot to take off and land a plane on a ship, a decorated warrior for his feats of bravery and rescue, was trusted by the admirals of the Royal Navy, had a succession of aeronautical inventions, and designed the first modern aircraft carrier. He was perhaps the most famous early twentieth-century naval aviator.

Despite all of this, and due mostly to class politics, Rutland was not promoted in the new Royal Air Force in the wake of WWI. This ignominy led the disgruntled Rutland to become a spy for the Japanese government. Plied with riches and given a salary ten times the highest-paid admiral, shuttled between Los Angeles and Tokyo where he lived in large mansions in both Beverly Hills and Yokohama, and insinuating himself into both LA high society and Japan’s high command, Rutland would go on to contribute to the Japanese navy with both strategic and technical intelligence. This included US troop and fleet movements, military preparedness, warplane production, and, ultimately, information and aircraft technology that would allow Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. All this while living a double life, frequenting private California clubs and hosting lavish affairs for Hollywood stars and military dignitaries in his mansion on the Los Angeles Bird Streets.

Supported by recently declassified FBI files and by incorporating unique and rare research through MI5 and Japanese Naval archives that few English speakers have access to, author Ronald Drabkin pieces together to completion, for the first time, this stranger-than-fiction story of one of the most fascinating and enigmatic characters of espionage history.

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Critic Reviews

"A beguiling tale of espionage and double-dealing in the years leading up to World War II. . . . Drabkin’s expertly narrated yarn, based on a trove of recently declassified documents, is constantly surprising, and it’s just the thing for thriller fans who enjoy kindred fictions of the Alan Furst variety. Strap in for a narrative that demands a suspension of disbelief—and richly rewards it." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"[H]istorian Drabkin debuts with a riveting account of Frederick Rutland (1886–1949), a British WWI hero who spied for the Japanese on the eve of WWII. As a celebrated naval aviator . . . Rutland developed a taste for publicity and a lifestyle beyond his reach. Overlooked in the peacetime British military, he offered his services to the Japanese Navy . . . The Japanese later helped Rutland relocate to Los Angeles to spy on the U.S. Navy and develop an agent network. With the Japanese government funding his lavish lifestyle, he rubbed elbows with the most famous English actors in Hollywood at the time, including Alan Mowbray and Boris Karloff, . . . and Charlie Chaplin, whose former butler Toraichi Kono became a key player in Japan’s espionage network. . . . Drabkin writes with a novelist’s flair, roving between far-flung ritzy settings (Hollywood, London, Tokyo) and notable personages (from J. Edgar Hoover to Amelia Earhart). Readers will be swept up." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Thanks to recently declassified FBI files, Drabkin discovered why the UK, US, and Japan would prefer to keep their dealings with Frederick Rutland, aka 'Agent Shinkawa,' secret forever. . . . The life of a spy has never seemed so addictive or harrowing. Drabkin takes an evenhanded approach, portraying Rutland as complicated—equal parts hero and villain. This winning and dramatic biography pierces the veil of secrecy surrounding historical events." — Booklist"Ronald Drabkin’s Beverly Hills Spy is a fascinating true tale of . . . an intelligence agent who, while living amid the movie-star glitter and comforting sunshine of Hollywood during the years inexorably counting down to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, was dutifully working for the Japanese intelligence service as well as any other espionage agency that would have him—and pay him, often lavishly." — Air Mail“A rip-roaring ride through the world of espionage and the tortured existence of a deeply flawed man who spent years of his life trying to redeem himself. Drabkin makes the biggest moments of the 20th century come vividly alive through his storytelling.” — Kate Andersen Brower, New York Times bestselling author of The Residence and First Women“An incredible story of British WWI hero ‘Rutland of Jutland’ and his fascinating life spying for Japan before WWII. Frederick Rutland traveled the world and mingled with Hollywood celebrities, all while the FBI, MI5, and the Office of Naval Intelligence watched him closely. A reminder of a lesson learned long before 9/11 that when law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, and allies do not work together, the consequences can be deadly.” — Jeffrey Trussler, vice admiral (retired) US Navy and former director of Naval Intelligence“What a fascinating tale this is—of espionage, of aviation, of heroism and betrayal, of class boundaries in the US and the UK. It is a dramatic story from the pre–World War II era with resonance today.” — James Fallows, National Book Award–winning author of National Defense and former White House staffer“Beverly Hills Spy is an unforgettable story—class politics, the interim between World Wars, heroes, traitors, espionage—set among the backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood. Readers will be shocked to learn the untold tale of Frederick Rutland, and the instrumental role he played in the attack on Pearl Harbor.” — Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Feather Thief and The Fishermen and the Dragon“Expertly researched and written with flair, Beverly Hills Spy sheds fresh light on how one of the 20th century’s greatest cataclysms came to pass. Centered on the morally murky exploits of a war hero who loved the high life too much, Ronald Drabkin’s book crackles with rich details about the paranoia and misunderstandings that poisoned relations between the United States and Japan. All narrative history should be this revelatory, and this compelling.” — Brendan I. Koerner, author of The Skies Belong to Us and Now the Hell Will Start"A masterpiece of espionage nonfiction, Beverly Hills Spy takes readers through the exploits of famed aviation pioneer Frederick Rutland. But was Rutland a hero or traitor? Ronald Drabkin’s take on the story is filled with intrigue that will leave readers guessing why one of the greatest naval aviators of all time decided to help the Japanese Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor and how Rutland was connected to WWII secrets of Hollywood’s elite." — Brett Velicovich, author of Drone Warrior and Fox News contributor“By using previously overlooked sources from three countries, Ronald Drabkin reveals the compelling story of one of the early twentieth century’s most important yet least-known spies. Frederick Rutland’s story carries important lessons about the nature of intelligence gathering in peacetime—and how it can be combatted. It also raises questions about how governments can best protect their secrets while preserving and protecting civil rights, even in wartime.” — Bradley W. Hart, author of Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States

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About the Author

Ronald Drabkin is the author of Beverly Hills Spy and peer-reviewed articles on Japanese espionage. His obsession with espionage history started when he was as a child in Los Angeles, where he vaguely understood that his father had been working for the US military in counterintelligence. Later he discovered that his grandfather had also been in "the business," and it drove a voyage of discovery into previously classified documents on three continents. His career prior to writing was at early stage startups in the US, where he was an early adopter of Google and Facebook advertising. He currently lives in Tokyo.

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Product Details

Publisher
HarperCollins Publishers Inc | William Morrow
Published
15th February 2024
Pages
272
ISBN
9780063310070

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