The Last Hero
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From Kirkus Reviews
First hardcover edition of a volume from a paperback series, on the OSS in WW II, that the ever-popular Griffin (Blood and Honor, 1997, etc.) published pseudonymously (in 1985) as Alex Baldwin. In mid-1941, fun-loving Richard Canidy and straight-arrow Edwin Bitter are hotshot pilot instructors at the Navy's air station in Pensacola. With minimal prompting, they soon volunteer to serve with the so-called Flying Tigers. Before heading off (on a slow boat) to China, however, these two well-connected friends find time to join the social whirl in Washington, where crafty FDR has detailed Wild Bill Donovan to create an Office of Strategic Services. Shortly after arriving in Southeast Asia, Dick becomes an ace, downing five Japanese planes in a single sortie. The very same day, he's whisked away on orders from the White House. Meantime, the US (now at war against the Axis powers) plans to build an atomic bomb but lacks a secure source of uraninite. Which is where Dick comes in. His prep-school chum Eric Fulmar (the son of an American film actress and a German industrialist) is dodging the draft boards of both nations by hiding out in North Africa. Operating under cover from the US Embassy in Morocco, Dick is to enlist the aid of Fulmar in abducting a French mining engineer with badly needed information on a vital ore cache in the Belgian Congo. To make the mission more challenging, the amateur agents must carry out their assignment on a split-second schedule (to make an offshore rendezvous with a submarine) and get their man away without arousing the suspicions of either the Nazi or Vichy forces controlling the Maghreb coast. A rousing to-the-ends-of-the-earth start for an absorbing narrative takeout on the shadow warriors who handled some decidedly odd jobs in aid of the Allied cause. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
W. E. B. Griffin is the author of seven bestselling series: The Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at War, Honor Bound, Presidential Agent, and now Clandestine Operations. He lives in Fairhope, Alabama, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Therefore, it was most interesting to get the complete back-story on the principle fictional characters. It certainly puts a more proper perspective on chapter two ("Secret Warriorts").
I particularly enjoyed the mixing of actual events and real people from the WWII era with the fictional characters. It gives a greater feeling of reality and you feel part of the action.
The series revolves around the founding and early days of the OSS...and our quest to beat the Axis powers in the race to develop the Atomic Bomb. Here we experience the setup to covertly attain the uranium necessary to complete the task.
The primary fictional characters are remarkably portrayed in a way that would make Errol Flynn, John Wayne and Tyrone Power proud. The action and plot flow smoothly and the book is great fun.
The characters are truly well developed and you feel an intimacy with many of them. You want them to show up in the next book in the series. Mr. Griffin does a good job of getting you to care about the players and to cheer for them all the way.
I am thankful to my friend for this recommendation and plan to read plenty more WEB Griffin.
It seems to me that part of the allure of Griffin's books is the current rich characters, people you can identify with. The Last Hero's leaves you wanting to know more about the heros.
Griffin has wisely gotten away from describing actual events in his work. His description of the early days of the American Volunteer Group, The Flying Tigers, in the is book is wildly romantic and full of errors. He is better at involving his characters in the broad stroke of historical events and letting the reader place the characters where they will.
Overall, an interesting early work, but without his current skillful character development.
I have several problems with Mr. Griffins books. He writes stories that are interchangable; the plot and characters would work just as well in Boston for the Revolution, or on Mars for the overthrow. Even the cop stories, although everyone knows that Carlucci's real name is Rizzo.
The next several problems (complaints) I think speak more to the author's reasons for writing as a career choice. Mr Griffin pads his stories. If you stripped away all of the repetitive flashbacks and visual copies of outside forms he has produced at best a novella. In his more recent books, he reminds the reader of occurances from the beginning of the book, as well as several pages each on every pertinent detail from previous stories. And that leads to my final objection to the authors works; he frequently makes mistakes. People in book 1 of the Corps series who do not speak Japanese are fluent by book 3; Ernie Zimmerman can hardly get the .45 out of it's holster in book 1 and in book four, he was using it quite well. Well, in book one Lt Sessions took it from him to use. I now re-read his earlier books, to find new and better mistakes. The books are entertaining to read. If they were just a small bit less so, I'd drop this author from my must read list in a New York minute.
Some of these heroes and villains and their plots may seem familiar from other Griffin books. No matter they still make a good story. Well worth the read.
Problems. Large type and large type spacing to make this seem a larger book then it is. The real problem is that this book and the three others in this series were first published in 1985/1991 in paperback. Now Mr. Griffin's publisher chooses to bring them out again in hardcover as "new books". Why not have brought them out in a collected volume of the "Men at War" paper backs. Now the publisher is telling new readers of Mr. Griffin that these are new books and we must wait for the next installment book 2 "The Secret Warriors" when in fact it was first published in 1985.
Despite the huckster approach of G. P. Putnam's Sons publisher this is still a good W. E. B. Griffin story. Read it in paperback if you can find it under the authorship of Alex Baldwin, one of Mr. Griffin's pen names or get this hardcover and wait for the next three or four installments of "The Men at War".
What ever happened to those Marines in "The Corps"? I hope Mr. Griffin has not left them to die on some Pacific Island.
Most recent customer reviews
This book, though fiction, is more or less what happened during WW2, with regard to Pearl Harbor, and the background to the Manhattan project. Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2010 by M. J. Fenn
The last heroes is not what the back cover implies it is: a WWII action/spy book. It turns out to be the total opposite. A big bore. Read morePublished on June 11 2004
Griffin has been one of my favorite authors for over ten years, and I've read other books of the same genre. Read morePublished on Dec 20 1999 by David Wright
The first 4 tapes of the book were GREAT! Tell me how to get the last half? firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished on Sept. 9 1999
I started reading and was skeptical, then by the time I was finished I was wishing I was Canidy.. Great Job, can't wait to start on next book.Published on Sept. 3 1999 by Michael W. Travis
This wasn't about WWII. It was about guys trying to get laid and make some cash. How could anyone write about WWII and mess it up? Read morePublished on Aug. 31 1999
As a fan of W.E.B. Griffin, I found THE LAST HEROS to be disappointing. It is supposed to be about the Manhattan Project. Read morePublished on July 20 1999
THE LAST HEROES is the only war novel I've read since 1992 that can hold a candle to the epic WWII novel THE TRIUMPH AND THE GLORY. Read morePublished on July 13 1999
I thought that the book was excellent. I have read the second series under Alex Baldwin, and I could not put the book down. Read morePublished on July 7 1999