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Monday, February 09, 2015

England Made Me (1935) by Graham Greene

 Book Review
England Made Me (1935)
by Graham Greene

    England Made Me is loosely based on the life of Swedish industrialist and con man Ivar Kreuger.  Kreuger invented several financial instruments (debentures, Class A and Class B shares) and became internationally famous before committing suicide in 1933.  Kreuger's legacy is somewhere between John Rockefeller and Bernie Madoff-  his confused Wikipedia entry is a testament to his mixed legacy.

    England Made Me, while not quite a spy novel in the way his later books were, is close to being a spy novel in terms of character and theme.  Set in inter-war Stockholm, with a shiftless English protagonist possessing some of the attributes that would later be associated with Secret Agents and Spies in 20th century fiction, I was waiting for Greene to shift into a higher gear that never came.  I suppose that is something that he developed later in his career, but England Made Me is still a suspenseful, atmospheric read, and at 200 or so pages this is a book you can digest during a morning commute on the train or on vacation.

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