Young Kirk was not a diplomat, but he found himself rubbing shoulders with some of the most influential statesmen during the years prior to the United States entering World War I. Fresh out of college, this neophyte from Michigan is the assistant to the unofficial spokesman for President Wilson. Based in Paris, Kirk is sent to gather intel in London, Petrograd, and Berlin. Perhaps it’s because he is such a callow youth that he is able to disarm some of the most prominent figures in the Great War. He also disarms some young ladies.
Jack Adler’s A Colleague in the Shadows tells the how and why of the run-up to America entering the war. It recounts Wilson’s stubborn push for ‘Peace Without Victory’ and the resistance his plan encountered in European courts. The United States dawdled for three years, enduring shipping loses at the hands of U-boats, and unrelenting pressure from allies to send American troops to France. Mr. Adler tells this story from an innocuous viewpoint. Kirk Johnson is a reluctant participant in global affairs, but he handles his tasks with aplomb. This story is remarkable in how it places an unremarkable character into such momentous events. It is well told, and the characters well developed. A Colleague in the Shadows is an entertaining way to revisit some history.
This book has some issues that I would be remiss not to mention. I have corresponded with the author, and he has told me that he has no control over the publisher who failed to correct numerous glaring errors. I make this disclaimer with Mr. Adler’s permission. It is a great book, sadly, it has been published by a poor publisher. I hope that you can enjoy it while overlooking the typos.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)