Before reading this book, I knew Frank Thompson was a gifted solider-poet who served under the SOE (Special Operations Executive), but not much beyond that. I was rather uncertain as to why Conradi decided to write a biography about someone who died at such a young age and lived so little.
Frank Thompson was captured, tortured, and then executed after he was caught during an operation, which he was sent on by the SOE in order to establish a link between the Bulgarian Partisans and the British army. He was killed at the age of 23.
Despite his short life, he still managed to live life to the fullest; he studied in Winchester and Oxford, wrote dozens of letters and poems, fell in love, and had a very full-of-events army career in Phantom and SOE, in which he showed a remarkable leadership skills in spite of his young age. He had enough unique experiences enabling anyone to find something interesting enough to relate to in this book.
Frank Thompson was a complex person. He was a remarkable linguist who spoke numerous languages, a poet who hadn't achieved his potential, an avid reader, a fierce intellectual, and even a drunk. (During college his parents were truly worried that he was on his way to becoming an alcoholic). However, above all, his story is symbolic of the generation who believed that it must fight and defeat Hitler for the greater good of everyone. This wonderful and moving biography also sheds light on Thompson's remarkable family and the fascinating times of WWII.