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My Life as a Spy
By Leslie Woodhead

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My Life as a Spy
By Leslie Woodhead
ISIS Large Print, 2006
ISBN : 978-0-7531-9367-9
Genre: Autobiography

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 4, 2007

In 1956, at the ripe old age of eighteen, Leslie Woodhead was drafted into Her Majesty's military for a two-year service stint. Unbeknownst to him, this common right of manhood was to signal Woodhead's entry into an unusual career - that of an RAF Linguist, or more colloquially put, he became a spy.

In My Life as a Spy, Woodhead chronicles his life, both before and after entering spyhood. The bulk of the book, however, focuses on his intelligence career during the Cold War, and the vagrancies of life in the military. Writing with the grace of a fiction writer, Woodhead paints a vivid portrait of his childhood and his induction into military life - including his first FFI (Freedom from Infection) exam where he, and his cohort, were ordered to drop their drawers "...offering our assorted tackle to the unenthusiastic appraisal of the sergeant, and a medical orderly who looked about fourteen." If you've ever been in the military - any military, in any age, you will find yourself nodding with a smile, remembering your own early days of service, and the ofttimes idiotic rigamarole you were forced to undergo.

From this witty glimpse into his early military career, Woodhead advances chronologically through the rest of his career as spy - from how he entered this unique career, the training he received in the Joint Services School for Linguistics where he learned Russian, and his adventures as a spy in Berlin, Germany and beyond, and his second career as an award winning documentary film-maker.

While My Life as a Spy reads like a novel, it is a genuine history of one man's life. If you come away with from this book with nothing else, it will be the realization that being a real spy is nowhere near as glamours or satisfying as it is portrayed in literature and in film! Woodhead's story is gripping, witty, and it makes for a fascinating read that will delight anyone with an interest in the Cold War, spies, British history, or who is simply looking to read a ripping good, real-life, adventure story!

My Life as a Spy can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of ISIS Large Print.

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