Jennet Conant


Conant, Jennet. A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.

According to Peake, Studies 55.3 (Sep. 2011), "we learn in considerable detail" what Paul Child, Jane Foster, Elizabeth MacDonald, and Julia McWilliams did in the OSS during World War II. Of course, "there is no actual covert affair" here, but "[s]ervice in the OSS was a formative experience for all involved in the story."

Cimino, AIJ 29.2 (2011), stresses that this book's title is "tremendously misleading," as "[t]he major character is actually Jane Foster." The story reads like fiction novel, "only the story is real. The characters with all of their talents and flaws are captivating." Similarly, Goulden, Washington Times, 15 Apr. 2011, accuses the publisher of pulling a "blatantly egregious ... bait-and-switch sting on an unwary reader.... Foster's story alone did not warrant a book; roping in the famed Julia Child seems a ploy, but one that falls flat." See also review by Chapman, IJI&C 25.3 (Fall 2012).

[SpyCases/U.S./Other/Foster; WWII/OSS/Individuals]

 Conant, Jennet. The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Goulden, Washington Times, 28 Sep. 2008, and Intelligencer 16.2 (Fall 2008), positively gushes over this book and its "story of the somewhat caddish English writer Dahl" who worked with British Security Coordination (BSC). This "truly fascinating book can be read on several levels. It is, first of all, a highly readable primer on propaganda operations, and a strong statement as to why intelligence organizations mount operations on the turf of 'friendly nations.' ... What struck me was the ease with which an unknown 20-ish airman and aspiring writer insinuated himself into the upper ranks of Washington's political and journalistic society."

For Peake, Studies 53.1 (Mar. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), there are both historical and other inaccuracies in this book, some "are terminological, others are factual, and all claims are undocumented." There is "[v]ery little" here of intelligence value. In fact, "Dahl was at best only peripherally involved" in espionage.


Conant, Jennet. 109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), finds that the author tells the story of the building of the atomic bomb "in non-technical terms, but her focus is on life in the 'secret city' as it was then.... Conant provides a new look at how army intelligence and the FBI attempted to prevent breaches" of security.


 Conant, Jennet. Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

According to Seamon, Proceedings 128.12 (Dec. 2002), Alfred Lee Loomis helped organize MIT's Radiation Lab, and "worked overtime convincing reluctant leading scientists to go to work for the government." Beard, I&NS 18.1, finds that the author's story "adds to the history of radar, but it also exposes her ignorance. Microwave radar is essentially given sole credit for the defeat of the U-boats, the blunting of the V-1 attacks on London, and Allied success at Anzio.... [She] describes ASV radar as the decisive weapon in the Battle of the North Atlantic. The word Ultra is never mentioned."


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