Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legerdemain: The President's Secret Plan, the Bomb, and What the French Never Kn

Legerdemain by James J. Heaphey

This is the true story of an Air Force intelligence officer stationed in Morocco in 1952. The Unites States and the Soviet Union are at the height of the Cold War. Each of them wishes to dominate and control the nuclear threat so that they are not invaded by the other.

The United States on the surface supports the colonial government of the French; but the United States government really wants to bring Morocco under their influence. They secretly support the nationalistic movement as long as they are insured to have their air bases on Moroccan soil. The air bases are vital in the cold war against the cSoviet Union, as at this time intercontinental missiles do not yet exist.

The author at the time is extremely young and is trained by and exposed to agents from Britain, United States,Israel, France and the USSR. He describes how the thinking processes worked in this time period. The history of Morocco is depicted with a personal viewpoint as Heaphey lived through it. The cruelty of the French towards their 'subjects' and the complete disregard of the Moroccan royalty is disgusting. Moroccan leaders are deposed and then back on the whim of the Western governments. The author also describes the creation of the Islamic nationalists in Egypt.

The exotic settings of Casablanca, Marrakech, Cairo and Cypress amid all the intrigue make for a very interesting book. I found the fact that nuclear weapons were stored on foreign soil without either the French or Moroccan government aware of this to be very disturbing.

This is the type of book that will warrant a re-read as I am sure that I will absorb even more information a second time.

First Line: "We were surprised by one another."



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