King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea

King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea

From the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the shocking, gripping account of the most powerful American spy you’ve never heard of, whose role at the center of the Korean War—which gave rise to the North Korean regime—is essential to understanding the most intractable foreign policy conflict of our time.In 1946, master sergeant Donald Nichols was rep...

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Title:King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea
Author:Blaine Harden
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King of Spies: The Dark Reign and Bizarre Ruin of America's Spymaster in Korea Reviews

  • Septimus Brown

    A top nonfiction title for anyone even remotely interested in spies, political/military history, or the Korean War. Blaine Harden is a consummate writer and researcher. This book is expertly structured, with unfailing prose and heady storytelling. Never a dull moment.

    King of Spies details the life an unlikely spy master who was instrumental in the Korean War. If one person can be credited with turning the tide against the North and China, it is Donald Nichols. His rise to prominence is as intere

    A top nonfiction title for anyone even remotely interested in spies, political/military history, or the Korean War. Blaine Harden is a consummate writer and researcher. This book is expertly structured, with unfailing prose and heady storytelling. Never a dull moment.

    King of Spies details the life an unlikely spy master who was instrumental in the Korean War. If one person can be credited with turning the tide against the North and China, it is Donald Nichols. His rise to prominence is as interesting as his fall from grace.

  • Terry Pearson

    I won a copy of this book in a giveaway.

    I have to admit the book isn't about what I though. However, it was still interesting. Intresting enough that my teenage grandson asked to read it when I was through.

    I rated it 3.8 stars

  • Anne

    Fascinating read on a key US spy in North Korea after WWII. Turns out Vietnam was Korea 2.0. Napalm - Agent Orange - bombing the north into oblivium - puppet leader in the south. Main difference in outcomes would seem to be the leadership in the North.

  • Dоcтоr

    Hard, tough, but an incredible life story. This book is certainly not for everyone, it doesn't not follow some romantic tale of James Bond, vice versa. it tells the life's lesson, that war is hell, and those that fought it will bear the scars internally forever.

  • Jeffrey Edick

    good book on how the US got involved in South Korea after WW2, with emphasis on the secret spy network installed by the Air Force. I knew little about pre-war Korea so this book was full of general info for me. The King of Spies started a brutal network that terrorized both North and South, and actually saved the South from a total loss, when the final assaults came at the Pusan perimeter. The King truly is a war hero, unfortunately he is also a criminal and murderer, a pedophile and a money lau

    good book on how the US got involved in South Korea after WW2, with emphasis on the secret spy network installed by the Air Force. I knew little about pre-war Korea so this book was full of general info for me. The King of Spies started a brutal network that terrorized both North and South, and actually saved the South from a total loss, when the final assaults came at the Pusan perimeter. The King truly is a war hero, unfortunately he is also a criminal and murderer, a pedophile and a money launderer. A good primer on the subject, I will be looking for more books with greater detail on actual spy cases in the future.

  • Tolani

    Little is ever mentioned in history about Donald Nichols, yet if there’s a name you need to know about the one person for who played a huge role during the Korean war, it is Donald Nichols. This was the third book I read by Blaine Harden, and he does a great job of depicting the life of Donald Nichols – a high-school dropout from Florida who later became a spymaster and built such a strong spy network that toppled the Kim regime in North Korea. Spy network, Agent Orange, Napalm, true crimes, Tru

    Little is ever mentioned in history about Donald Nichols, yet if there’s a name you need to know about the one person for who played a huge role during the Korean war, it is Donald Nichols. This was the third book I read by Blaine Harden, and he does a great job of depicting the life of Donald Nichols – a high-school dropout from Florida who later became a spymaster and built such a strong spy network that toppled the Kim regime in North Korea. Spy network, Agent Orange, Napalm, true crimes, Truman leadership, Pusan perimeter, Pres. Syngman Rhee, General McArthur - this book has it all!

  • Pam

    A couple of things. This book was very interesting when it talked about the Korean War and the things that led up to it. It was interesting when it talked about Nichols and how he ran his spy ring. But, it wasn't all that detailed. I felt like it was trying super hard to be sensational without a lot backing it up. The same with the book title and the reviews on the back. When I think about war and all of the terrible things that happen, I'm not trying to say I condone the human rights violations

    A couple of things. This book was very interesting when it talked about the Korean War and the things that led up to it. It was interesting when it talked about Nichols and how he ran his spy ring. But, it wasn't all that detailed. I felt like it was trying super hard to be sensational without a lot backing it up. The same with the book title and the reviews on the back. When I think about war and all of the terrible things that happen, I'm not trying to say I condone the human rights violations that transpired, but it doesn't seem super shocking in a context of war.

    Then once the book quickly brings the war to a close, Nichols gets sent back to the states in disgrace. He turns out to be a pedophile with packets of cash in his freezer, gets arrested, and spirals downhill to an ignominious end. Still vey sensationalized but not, to me, interesting, just pathetic.

  • Ray

    "

    " is a story of a poor Florida boy who served in the Air Force in Korea and became a key spy master during the Korean War. Much of what is known of Donald Nichols is from his own accounts, much of which is b.s. and self-promotion. Nonetheless, it apparently was true that he did have a personal relationship with the South Korean President, and did have valuable connections during the Korean War which enabled him to bring useful intelligence to the U.S. forces fighting against the No

    "

    " is a story of a poor Florida boy who served in the Air Force in Korea and became a key spy master during the Korean War. Much of what is known of Donald Nichols is from his own accounts, much of which is b.s. and self-promotion. Nonetheless, it apparently was true that he did have a personal relationship with the South Korean President, and did have valuable connections during the Korean War which enabled him to bring useful intelligence to the U.S. forces fighting against the North Koreans and Chinese troops. His actions were effective, but highly questionable. He also was an unlikeable character. During the war, he may well have profited from his position and black market dealings, allowing him to leave the service quite well off financially. However, his retirement was marred by his sexual abuse of several teen-aged boys, and he ended up being treated for mental problems.

  • Rob

    Not really sure what to make of this main character - is he a victim or victimizer? And his "reign" is surprisingly short, as this book is less than 200 pages and it feels as though most of that is spent on his background and post-war activity.

    But the book does fill in a few blanks in Korean War-era history.

  • Aaron Schmidt

    3.5 stars.

    I thought this book was interesting mostly for the Korean War history. A subject I am fairly ignorant on. The geopolitical history of the region and its use as a proxy for the major powers is quite sad. I was unaware of the mass scale bombing of the country - something that is apparently still used to this day to drum up anti-American fervor there. From the sounds of it - the destruction was significantly worse than the bombing of Japan, even including the two nuclear bombs.

    I also en

    3.5 stars.

    I thought this book was interesting mostly for the Korean War history. A subject I am fairly ignorant on. The geopolitical history of the region and its use as a proxy for the major powers is quite sad. I was unaware of the mass scale bombing of the country - something that is apparently still used to this day to drum up anti-American fervor there. From the sounds of it - the destruction was significantly worse than the bombing of Japan, even including the two nuclear bombs.

    I also enjoyed how the author portrayed the main character as someone who was deeply flawed by his upbringing. Despite this, he was able to flourish amidst the chaos of the Korean War. He is credited with a number of intelligence coos such as the defection of a North Korean pilot with a fully functioning MiG. However, he became enough of a liability after the war and was eventually sacked. Which led to a mental break followed by disgrace and (more) predation after returning to civilian life. The warning signs about his flawed character seemed to have been fairly apparent early on in his military career, but were ignored / not looked at due to the amount of value he was providing to the war effort.

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