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January 18, 2018 36 mins

Today author Roald Dahl is best-known for his prolific writing career -- but, as it turns out, he lived an entirely different life before he ever put pen to paper to create children's stories. Learn more about Roald Dahl's earlier life as a fighter ace, a legendary ladies man, and a World War II-era spy (seriously, like a real-life James Bond!) in this episode.

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Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:12):
Yeah, George didn't say a word. He felt quite trembly.
He knew something tremendous had taken place that morning. For
a few brief moments, he had touched with the very

(00:32):
tips of his fingers the edge of a magic world.
That's from George's Marvelous Medicine by the author Rolled Doll. Hi,
my name is Ben, my name is Noll. And what
a weaver of dreams that Roll Doll was. Yes, if
you're like millions of children in the United States, the

(00:52):
UK and beyond, then you grew up reading books by
Rolled Doll, stuff like not just George's marvel Medicine, but
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Yeah, George is a deep
cut for me. Um, I've never read that one. My
favorites growing up were Matilda, Um The Chocolate Factory books,
including the Great Glass Elevator, which people kind of seem
to forget about. They go, they go up into space

(01:14):
and there's their space aliens and stuff. Um. The Witches
was super creepy and uh and the movie The Witches
movie really freaked me out. Fantastic. They pull their faces
off and stuff, and they all have wigs and he's
a mouse it's no, it's fun. It's fun movie, but
definitely um back when they made movies for kids that
gave kids nightmares. Yeah, And in the course of research

(01:38):
for today's episode, one of the things I discovered is
that there's this danger in young adult fiction without all
of the trappings of banality you find in so much
grown up adult, full adult fiction, you know, and we
see stuff that's so much more honest, visceral and candidly frightening.

(02:00):
Rule Doll wrote some pretty dark stuff. Uh. And it's
easy I think for maybe someone who just saw the
newest adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, right, I
think it's easy for them to say, oh, this is
just sort of kookie, but as most of us know,
the original one is frightening. Especially there's no way of knowing.

(02:26):
In fact, Marilyn Manson sort did a did a redo
of that on one of his early records, UM, showing
how it kind of really worked on that absurdly creepy,
dark level. Um. But yeah, Doll, I kind of look
at him is almost like a Dickens type figure in
terms of the characters and the absurdity and some of
the satire that he did, but it was in fact

(02:48):
for kids. And today we have, you know, this genre
of young adult fiction that tries to be a little
bit more um, dark and edgy. But these books were
written for children, right, Yeah, this isn't stuff like you know.
Edward Gorey, for instance, has a child's book formats, but

(03:09):
is pretty much clearly for adults. Roaldall was writing for children,
but he was doing much much more than that. And
the true life story of Roald Dahl is as interesting
and strange, if not more interesting and strange, then some
of the fictional stories he wrote, because it turned out

(03:32):
that he lived during one of the most important, dangerous, magnificent,
storied times in modern history, absolutely right in the thick
of World War Two. And Doll himself even described the
mission of Churchill and the British government and the Royal

(03:52):
Air Force which he was a part of, as saving
the world. I mean, he really looked at it that way,
and that's not too far from the true. And at
the time, um, the United States was not about that war.
We were in a very isolationist period. Um. Guys like
Charles Lindberg really pushed for this America first ideology. U

(04:14):
ms that sound familiar um, but yeah, it was a
big deal to get the United States on board the
war effort to help fight the Nazis in what Doll
himself described as a battle against like good and evil
in the life or death situation that could literally result
in the end of the world as it was known
at that time. And so in today's episode, we're exploring

(04:39):
one of the most fascinating things about Rule Doll that
you might not know, which is that he was not
just a fight race. He was not just a military man.
It was not just a fantastically prolific children's author. He
was a spy, not only a spy, like a super spy,
like the spy. Totally. Yes, So let's give just a

(05:00):
little bit of his background to get to the juicy
once top secret stuff. Oh and by the way, shout
out to our super producer for today, Ramsey Junt. Thanks
for coming. Ramsey much appreciated, saving the day, saving the day,
saving the show. So Casey is out with the flu
and we wish him a quick convalescence. Yes, yes, uh so,

(05:23):
please feel free to write to Ramsey and Casey as
well as us if you would like Roll Doll though
Roll Doll here's the thing. Born in September of nineteen sixteen,
and he lived until nineteen nineties, so he he had
a full life. And he's one of those guys know

(05:43):
that when I read the biography or something, I feel
like I just haven't done anything. I'm like, what a jury?
I know? Right, It's like, hey, I read, uh, I
read a lot of books, I guess, but I I
haven't helped in Jannier clandestine geopolitics, right, I haven't shot
people out of the sky yet. So Ruled was born

(06:08):
in Wales of Norwegian extract. His parents were both from Norway,
and he was named after the Norwegian explorer that we've
mentioned in previous episodes here Ruled Amondson. So that's r.
O A L D. Actually his first language was Norwegian,

(06:29):
which was startling to to think of, you know, and
like many kids, he went to a boarding school and
some of the some of the experiences he had, they're
definitely informed the way he approaches authority figures in his books.
And there's actually a book he wrote, I think his
only work of nonfiction as as in his later career,

(06:50):
called Boy, where he talks about growing up and he
talks about some really horrible experiences he had at that
boarding school, one of which included um being caned by
the headmaster or by some high official until he was
bloody Yeah, Headmaster Geoffrey Fisher. And you're correct, boy. Tales
of Childhood was his almost an expose, you know, but

(07:14):
so far in the past, you'll always hear that thing. Oh,
it was a different time. That's how they disciplined them.
But luckily for us and luckily for young readers around
the world, he did survive that horrific boarding school experience,
and in nineteen thirty four, when he finished school, he
crossed the Atlantic on the RMS Nova Scotia and highted

(07:37):
through Newfoundland and eventually he got a job. Yeah. That
was in September of nineteen thirty nine when he started
working for the Shell Oil Company in East Africa. Um.
And it was at this time when England declared war
on Germany, and like many uh, you know, strapping youths

(07:58):
his age, he decided to heed the call of war
and go join his compatriots and serve his country. So
he drove from Dare S salam Um to Nirobi and
there was a Royal Air Force headquarters there and um
that is where he signed up to become a fighter pilot.

(08:20):
And just want to say up front, some of this
information we got from a fantastic book called The Irregulars
Roll Doll in the British Spy Ring in wartime Washington,
which was written by a journalist American journalist by the
name of Janette Connent. Yes, it's a fantastic book. It's
actually a fairly recent book too, and we can't recommend

(08:41):
it enough. It's the kind of thing that we would
read for fun, which is always a beautiful thing to say.
But one thing that is definitely not beautiful would be
the reality of life as an aircraftman in World War Two,
especially his time. He was accepted, as Null said in

(09:03):
Nairoubi for flight training with sixteen other men, but only
four of those, counting Rule Doll, would survive the war.
And it's interesting because they were so desperate for pilots
that even at six ft six uh quite lanky bean
pole of a man um he was accepted and in

(09:26):
in the Irregulars um it's described as he had to
quote curl up into a fetal position with his knees
tucked tightly under his chin in order to sit in
the cockpit and his head stuck out above the windshield
like some kind of cartoon character. But because the pilots
were so in demand, um, he was accepted. And then

(09:46):
he trained very quickly, I think two months doing test
flights Shake and Kenya exactly. And then next thing you know,
he is thrust into the fray, right, uh, flying an
obsolete crap gloucestered Gladiator, the last biplane fighter used by
the Royal Air Force ever. And if you have ever

(10:11):
flown in a biplane, uh, it's a it's a fantastic
experience and it's terrifying to imagine having to conduct any
sort of mission of war in one of those things.
He almost died, as it turns out, right when he
again with this obsolete technology and we're talking obsoletely even

(10:33):
in the late nineteen thirties. Uh, he almost died because
he was flying and was low on fuel and he
crashed landed in the desert in Egypt, and was able
to pull himself from the wreckage, from that fetal position,
from the wreckage and get far enough away quickly enough
to avoid the subsequent explosion and the hail of machine

(10:57):
gun fire that was set off by that blaze. Can
you imagine, just like trudging through I think he was
picked up eventually by a patrol and rescued. And this
dodging of a conflagration of machine gun fires especially miraculous
we consider the piss poor condition he was in immediately.

(11:18):
His skull was fractured, his nose was smashed. Most importantly,
he was temporarily blind, so he had no idea what
was going on, and he remained blind for some time. Actually,
his face was reconstructed by a plastic surgeon, and you know,
he sustained spinal damage which caused him significant pain that

(11:40):
would endure for the rest of his life. Yeah, And
as it turned out, the Royal Air Force made an
inquiry into the crash, and they learned that the place
he had been told to go it was the wrong place.
It wasn't even supposed to be flying that way. Can
you imagine, just just like with the technology they had
at the time, managing all that, sending these you know,

(12:01):
squads and keeping things secret and having pet people end
up in the right place with these obsolete aircraft, I mean,
I think more people would be crashing in the desert
in this situation. You know, given the circumstances. That's a
really good point. Too. Fast forward to let's say nineteen
forty one or so. Uh, he finally gets out of
the hospital from this crash, and again because of that desperation,

(12:24):
he's back in the air. Yeah he is. He is
rated fully fit for flying duties, although we will find
out later that's not exactly the case unfortunately. So what
happens next, well, next he is sent on what basically
amounted to a suicide mission. The Italians had German reinforcements

(12:47):
and the British were outnumbered in protecting Greece. Dall was
sent as part of the eighties squadron to basically protect
the island of Greece, and that was only one of
two R A F squadrons to cover this entire region,
and they were severely outnumbered. Severely outnumbered is a great

(13:09):
way to put it. His first aerial combat occurs in
the same year in April, and he attacks uh six
other planes and once uh they're junkers JU eight eight.
He these are bombers, right, He manages German planes, yeah,
German plans. He manages to shoot one down and later

(13:33):
the I think that next day it was like the
fifte and the sixteenth. So he shot down one plane
one day and another plane the day after, which does
that make him of fighting ace? Ye? No by my standards,
sure yea. By our standards. I'm not sure what the
qualification for a status was, but Uh, certainly a badass, right,

(13:54):
and his career as an airman continues. He is in
a time him and in a position that is notoriously dangerous. Right,
he is not only surviving, but arguably he's thriving. Yeah,
it's pretty insane. In that campaign which ultimately the Germans

(14:15):
totally ousted the Brits from Greece, and one the day,
around thirteen thousand British fighter pilots were killed, wounded or imprisoned,
and as the Germans were advancing on Athens, Doll was
evacuated along with this folks to Egypt. Uh and the

(14:37):
squadron got back together. They put the band back together
in Haifa. From Haifa, he continued to fly, but in
June he began to get the worst most stabilitating headaches
you could imagine, like beyond migraines, to the point where
he actually blacked out a few times during fly Uh,

(15:00):
and then he got checked out and the medics told
him it was probably because of altitude or like geez,
gravitational effects UM. But it turned out that was not
the case and it was just to holdover from that
head injury he got UM during that fateful crash back
in Egypt, his first flight UM. So he was discharged honorably, Yes,

(15:23):
it was honorably discharged. He was originally hoping that as
he as he recovered, he would be able to one
day in the future become an instructor for newer pilots,
newer air serviceman. But then something happened, A plot twist occurred.

(15:43):
He had a meeting at a club with a very
influential figure named Major Harold Balfour, who was serving as
the Under Secretary of State for Air. Balfour was impressed.
It was like, this guy is walking the walk, he's

(16:06):
a fighter race. At least Balford thought he was nice. Right,
So Balfour appoints Doll, who was still a young cat
by the way at this time, is right, what are
we doing with our lives? We're doing this, I guess, yeah,
well you know we are. Uh So bal for gets
to do all a position as Assistant Air attache at

(16:27):
the British Embassy in d C. And this launches another
series of travels and incredibly important meetings. Initially, Doll is
amazed by all the luxuries in North America, but ten
days in almost two weeks in uh, he hates it.
He thinks his job is pointless. He doesn't understand like

(16:51):
what he's doing. And while he's it was meant to
be like a public relations kind of a position, right,
and he wasn't feeling it at all. He didn't want
to do in the first place. I mean, when Val
four basically insisted that this is the job for you, um,
Dall is quoted as saying, oh no, sir, please sir,
anything but that, sir. But Balfour was like, nope, and
he made it in order and said, according to the irregulars,

(17:15):
that it was jolly important. Yes, he saw maybe through
just the way Dall kind of carried himself. He was
reported to be quite dashing and good at talking to
people and very ingratiating or whatever, so maybe you know
he saw him. Okay, well you can't fly. You were
a good soldier, but now I think we can use

(17:37):
you in America. Yes, and so Dall kept his stiff
upper lip, sucked it in and as as we say,
he crossed the Atlantic and he hated it. There's a
quote that there's a quote we found this pretty funny.
He notes how priorities had shifted. He said, I'd just
come from the war. People were getting killed. I had

(17:59):
been flying around and seeing horrible things. Now almost instantly
I found myself in the middle of a pre war
cocktail party in America. Not to mention that back in London,
I mean they were getting bombed right by the Nazis,
you know. It was. There was even a period where
Dall lost track of his family, you know, when he
was away and he was told, well, they probably got bombed,

(18:21):
you know, and he did eventually find them. But he
came from you know, this experience of everything is just
bleak and uh fallen, crumbling infrastructure. To being in d C,
where they had not yet declared war on the Japanese,
you know, in Pearl Harbor is what brought them into
the fight. Um. But like you said earlier, there was
this isolationist thing and we're like, well, we're here in

(18:43):
d C, you know, living it up with the swells.
Can you imagine you're someone saying, so ruled Doll, you're
from England. How's your family? And he's like, I don't know,
they might be dead. Well, have you tried the shrimp?
It's it's a really disconcerting thing in this time him
in this sort of if we're going Joseph Campbell with it,
in this journey in the wilderness and this dark Night

(19:05):
of the Soul or whatever. Uh, this is when Doll
meets another person that will change his life an author
named cs Forrester. Cs Forrester had written this very popular
series of books featuring a character Horatio Hornblower, who was
a navelman, and you know, it was all these adventures

(19:26):
and Doll and his cohorts in the r A f
would have been super familiar with these, you know, in
their downtime reading these books. And he was approached by
this man who came directly to see him and wanted
to interview him about that crash in Egypt that we
talked about earlier, where he you know, went down and

(19:47):
had to run away from the explosion and very heroic stuff.
Because there was a newly established organization within the British
government that was based in the United States called the
British information s pervices, and their job was kind of
to helps sway American sentiment towards supporting the war effort

(20:08):
and aiding Britain, who had always been a huge ally
of ours, but yet because of that isolationist position, it
wasn't something that our government was interested in getting involved in.
And one way of doing that and swaying that opinion
was with stories of heroism and these you know, these
moments like what happened to Doll And we'll say it propaganda. Okay, yes, yeah,

(20:33):
it's it's propagand that doesn't mean it's not true. That
just means it's it's it's a narrative with an end goal.
It's persuasive writing. So Forrester has a deal where he's
going to sort of ghost, right, is what they assumed.
They assumed that it would be like Saturday Evening Post

(20:53):
features fighter Ace roled Doll as told to cs Forrester,
you know the way a lot of politicians today don't
actually write their own books. But turns out that after
Forrester read dolls account, he thought, I don't have to
change this. This guy is actually a bang up writer.
He's top notch or the bee's knees or aces or

(21:16):
whatever people said at the time. The point is he
was surprisingly good, and they published the article with the
name shot down over Libya, and that was sort of
a more sensationalized title that was different from Doll's original title,
which was the slightly more tongue in cheek A piece
of cake, which is a term that fighter pilots used
kind of jokingly to refer to like maneuvers. That's a

(21:38):
piece of cake, right. But the fun thing about this
is that it maybe in an effort to impress this
very famous writer who he looked up to, he fictionalized
the hell out of his account. Yes, yes, that's the
always the problem when somebody's reminiscing about their past events,

(21:59):
isn't it. He was maybe a little more heroic, as
you recall friends and neighbors from earlier in the episode.
He was not shot down, not in real life. He
was not. He ran a gas Yeah, he ran out
of gas. But it worked. He was actually promoted, and

(22:20):
I think it has something to do with his success
in this field and this this particular article a piece
of cake, Shotdown of Libya. They could have just combined
it into one sentence, A piece of cake shotdown over.
That would have been good. It would have been cool. Uh.
This leads him to another significant meeting. He meets a

(22:41):
fellow named William Stevenson, and this is where the superspy
world kind of opens up for doll Um. Stevenson was
the mastermind behind this secret ring I guess of intelligence
agents called the British Security Coordination or be SC. This

(23:01):
was a top secret institution set up in New York
City by m I six in nineteen forty under the
authorization of Churchill and my six being sort of the
British equivalent of the c I A. Yeah, yeah, the
OSS at the time, Yeah there, Yeah, they're the uh,

(23:22):
they're the guys in the dark with the trench coats, right, or,
in the case of m I six, just fantastic tailored suits. Yeah, exactly,
the dashing young men in the tailor's suits with the
cocktails at the cocktail parties, betting influential heiressism politicians. Yes, exactly,
and that is betting B E, D, D, I N G.

(23:44):
Let's be clear about that. Sir William Stevenson, as as
we noted, is the head of this organization that the
U United Kingdoms public and the U S public have
no idea exists. Uh was doing some things that were
technically illegal, like he was passing, you know, like UK

(24:06):
secrets to Roosevelt. He was passing US secrets to the UK.
And he was also masterminding in a very serious way,
this push to alter the US opinion the average voter,
given the way the US government works, the average voter

(24:27):
had to support this idea. We had to be persuaded
that it was somehow worth American lives two send people
across the seas and spend enormous amounts of money to
save other people in foreign lands, which today happens all

(24:47):
the time. Frankly, absolutely, But I mean it feels like
there's a real parallel between the attitude of the government
in our country right now and the way things were
back then, and so what have when Dall and Stevenson meet.
So what came of this meeting with Stevenson was Doll

(25:07):
being first kind of recruited as a freelancer for the
b sc um And a lot of that had to
do with his success at writing all of these pieces
that are ultimately propaganda pieces, including a piece about gremlins.
He wrote a book, a short story about Gremlins that
got picked up by Disney, and he had like personal
meetings with Walt Disney and Gremlins if you I mean

(25:28):
you know, like obviously the Gremlins the movie, but the
Gremlins were originally these little creatures that would mess with
fighter pilots. And it was this lore, especially in in
Britain in the R A F that they would uh
make their planes malfunction and they blamed it on gremlins
and throw a red and chare. One great example of
that lore in fiction comes from The Twilight Zone in

(25:51):
the famous episode uh Yeah with William Shatner who sees
a gremlin on the wing of a plane. Although it
is a commercial play which makes it creepy, Twilight Zones
a great show. I love it. Um. But yeah. So
that was probably what got Stevenson's attention was Doll's success,
and he wrote a lot of different pieces that ended
up in a lot of different places that were perceived

(26:13):
as being successful propaganda. UM. And part of the b
sc S mission was similar to what the British Information
Services Mission was, was to turn that public opinion towards
supporting the United Kingdom in that war effort, but he
only freelanced for like a handful of months before he
was made a full fledged member of this group known

(26:34):
as the Baker Street Irregulars, which was named after the
spy ring that Sherlock Holmes kind of managed um in
those books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And they were
sort of street urchins that were sort of like, uh,
if you're a Game of Thrones fan, his little birds
that would, like, you know, whisper things and and find
secrets and and tell him so he could be on

(26:55):
top of He had eyes and ears everywhere, and that
was what Doll was a part of. And he wasn't
the only um soon to be beloved author that was
in this group, right. One of them was a little
guy into the name of Ian Fleming, right, the author
of the famous James Bond series. But today Ian Fleming

(27:16):
is a little bit more well known as a guy
who was a spy. Rural Doll was doesn't get some
of the credit that he deserves for this, especially when
you consider that they were living undercover at the time,
just like a CIA agents or CIA assets might have

(27:36):
a job in an embassy, as the I T guy
that actually does happen. Uh. He was working as a
public relations dude, a PR man, that was the front.
But when you when you hear some of the stuff
we're about to tell you, UM, I don't think you'd
be too hard pressed to believe that James Bond may
have been based on Doll himself. That's that's how I

(27:58):
see it, I really do. He's definitely part of it.
I absolutely completely agree. I love the way that our author,
uh Lori L. Dove, writing for a House of Works,
describes Doll's spy career. Did this sentence stick out to you?

(28:19):
By all reports, he was both very good and very
bad at it. He was living extremes, I know, because
a big part of it was, you know, obviously keeping secrets.
And in a biography called Storyteller, Um, Doll's daughter actually
sort of said, yeah, Dad was a pretty bad gossip

(28:39):
and and really didn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Um.
But the part that he was really good at was
ingratiating himself two powerful people, and that included, as we
said earlier, powerful women who he let's just go ahead
and say it, seduced. Yeah, we were talking about this
off air. Doll was a phenomenally talented lothario, a ladies man,

(29:04):
and this really came in handy. This was a skill
that could be applied to sway in the opinions of
important people. But uh, Noel, I know there was a
quote that you have been waiting to bring to the air.
I gotta do it, I gotta do it. Um. In Storyteller,
the Authorized Biography of Roll Doll by Donald Sturten, he

(29:29):
has a quote from one of Doll's close friends, a
man with a gloriously British name, Creek Moore Fat, who
described Doll as being quote one of the biggest coxman
in Washington. I'm just gonna leave that there, all one word,
by the way, all one word. Uh. And you know

(29:49):
he is in the same way that you know, and
it's it doesn't quite hold up today. And some of
the James Bond movies, the way we see Bond manipulating
women and and being a bit of a rake, right,
that was Doll. Yeah. So he had numerous affairs. Uh.
One with the heiress to the Standard Oil Fortune, one

(30:13):
with a congresswoman named Claire booth Loose who later became
an ambassador. Uh. And this is just the beginning but
you have to wonder how effective of a spy he
was because he was swaying opinions, but then he was
talking about it, so it was probably not a secret,

(30:37):
or at least a very open secret that he was
sleeping around d c oh for sure. And he eventually
became pals with a guy by the name of Charles
Marsh who was a Texan UH newspaper tycoon UM who
was a huge fan of Churchill and a big proponent
of allying with UM the UK in support of the

(30:58):
fight against Hitler. And this was the big goal, right,
so he was probably able to kind of help sway
that in some of the reporting in Marsha's papers. UM.
He also became close to a lot of other prominent
American journalists and uh several big time US officials, including

(31:18):
the Vice President Henry Wallace, who he played tennis with
on a regular basis. Uh he he also there there's
a quote from Marsha's daughter, Antoinette marsh Haskell that I
I love. In a piece written by Chris Irving over
at the Telegraph, he quotes Antonette marsh Haskell is saying

(31:39):
girls just fell at Rold's feet. I think he slept
with everybody on the East and West coast that was
worth more than fifty thousand dollars a year. And uh
he also, by virtue of knowing these titans of industry
and government, he was able to function as uh, not
just a propagandist, but a clan destin avenue of information,

(32:03):
of transmission of information. So he told, He told Stevenson
and the other folks of the UK that he believed,
for instance, the president, President Franklin Roosevelt, was sleeping around
with the Crown Princess of Norway who had been granted
asylum in the US. He also I think gave first

(32:24):
word to the UK that the US was going to
the moon. Yeah, he was telling people important things. I mean,
he even worked his way up to becoming so cozy
with Roosevelt himself that he was pretty regularly invited to
vacation with the man at his Hyde Park estate in
New York. Yes. And in nine he began experiencing back

(32:51):
pain and underwent a series of treatments that kept him
in traction for several months. While he was recovering, President
Roosevelt unfortunately passed away and Germany lost the war. Well,
that part was fortunate. That's very fortunate, but it's it's
sad that Roosevelt passed away. But yeah, imagine being rolled

(33:12):
dall And and coming out from this dreadful recovery, this
hard earned recovery, and then find and then learning that
you know, he won the war. I would say it
was probably a little bitter, sweet, ben um, but then
you know, it did give him the opportunity to leave
that spies life, that swashbuckling couxman life behind him. Yes,

(33:34):
he settled down. He married Patricia Neil in ninety three. Uh,
their marriage lasted for thirty years. And this episode is
not about the subsequent career that dall would had, but
as we as we know, he became a giant of
of literature and beloved very much to this day. And

(33:58):
not a lot of people know where where a lot
of that stuff came from. And Ben, do you like
the term fabulous? Yeah, isn't that a fun one? It's
a good one. It's a you know, I'm torn because
fictionist was another one that we discovered on this show
that I really enjoyed. But fabulous as well, I would
describe him as such, but basically dull. Even with that

(34:18):
fictionalization of his you know, war efforts and that plane
crash in Egypt. He was kind of a professional liar,
which is what a spy is. And ultimately what a
good author is right is to tell a convincing lie
or to find the truth of the human experience through fiction,

(34:39):
which is a lie. I completely agree, And I also
have to wonder what would have happened had he not
been in the hospital for those few months. Would he
have continued because as we know when he when he
comes out of the hospital, he's lost sort of his
taste for the spies life, and he's ready to go

(35:00):
home and settle down, and he feels he served his country.
But what if he continued, how would our image of
James Bond have changed? I'd like to hear some fabulousm
from you folks, let us know. And while you're at it,
we cannot recommend the book The Regulars enough. If you
want to read something related, we'd also like to recommend
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton. And it's

(35:26):
about the Other Front, not This is about Churchill's clandestine
activities to try to assassinate Hitler and our pals Holly
and Tracy over stuff you miss in history class. Actually
just recently did a two part episode on the ministry
of ungentlemanly warfare, So pop over and check that out
and definitely pick up the book. And I would just
like to end with a nice quote, uh from dol

(35:48):
himself that I think ties a lot of this together.
Quote truth is far too precious a commodity to be
used lightly. And with that, huge thank you to our
friend and super produce Ramsey gunt our super producer Casey Pegram,
thanks to Alex Williams for composing our theme and sound cues,
and thanks to Lori L. Dove for writing the article

(36:12):
for how Stuff Works that we refer to several times
in this episode. You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter,
We're we're on the usual Internet places you'll you'll see
us there Ridiculous History, or you can get us anywhere
that you get your podcast. You already know that you're
getting it from wherever you're going to get it. You
don't need us to tell you. But most importantly, thanks

(36:32):
to you for listening, and we really hope that you'll
join us for the next episode of Ridiculous History. Have
a great day. Everyone

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Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

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Noel Brown

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