Into the Lion's Mouth: The True Story of Dusko Popov; World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real-Life Inspiration for James Bond

Berkley Caliber. Jun. 2016. 384p. photos. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780425281819. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698197664. POL SCI
Dusko Popov (1912–81) was an unlikely candidate to become one of the most successful spies of World War II. The son of a wealthy industrialist, Popov earned law degrees from the universities of Belgrade and Freiburg. Popov lived like a playboy: he gambled, lived well, and spent extravagantly on his numerous girlfriends. By 1940, he entered into German employ as a spy. Before beginning work for the Germans, Popov took this information to the British, and unofficially began working for them. Soon he was a double agent, in the employ of both the British and Germans. Author Loftis recounts the exploits of the model for Ian Fleming's James Bond character with great skill. He captures the stress, danger, and uncertainty Popov faced while trying to misdirect the Germans without making them suspicious and passing important information on to the British. A "Dramatis Personae" list at the start of the book helps readers keep the major players straight.
VERDICT Loftis's account will have readers on the edge of their seats and immersed in this sometimes unbelievable tale. Recommended for World War II enthusiasts and those interested in real-life spy stories.
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