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LANNY BUDD

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Full Name: Lanny Budd
Nationality: American
Organization: Presidential Agent
Occupation Agent

Creator: Upton Sinclair
Time Span: 1940 - 1953

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Lanny Budd is an agent for the American President.
       He is so much more, though, because his adventures so richly describe the world of Europe and American during the incredibly violent and unsettling years from the First World War, through the pseudo-peace of the 20s and 30s, into and beyond the horrors of the Second World War, and into the beginning of the Cold War.
       Born in 1900 to a rich son of an American munitions dealer named Robbie Budd and the daughter of an American Baptist minister, named Beauty. His father met his mother while she lived in Paris and their marriage was a tumultuous one due to the forbidding by Budd's grandfather of the union. Beauty had posed nude for several famous artists and the scandal was more than could be allowed. Such was the world Budd lived in - wealth and strictness on one side and a Bohemian free spirited art loving other side.
       We first will meet Budd as he is 13 years old and the Continent was just a few months away from the assassination of the Austrian Archduke and WWI. We will follow him in very great detail as he lives through that conflict and grows to maturity shortly thereafter. His life in Europe will result in his being a native speaker of French and German with a good understanding of Italian and Spanish and, more importanly, it will give him a wide range of acquaintances who will come and go from his life many times over the next few decades, most good and some not so much.
       The second novel details his life throughout his and the world's 20's as Budd travels all over Europe on business and for pleasure and being the extremely observant man that he became, he will see many instances of hatred by several countries for Germany and extreme resentment and bitterness on the part of the Germans, resulting in their rearming.
       Half a decade is depicted in the third novel, the years of 1929-1934 being a terrible period for everyone throughout Europe, except tellingly those of the upper class who had either escaped the Crash of 29 or were so rich they survived it. More telling was the rise of the Nazi party and the early movements towards the Holocaust.
       The fourth novel, taking place from '34 to '37, has Budd entering the upper strata of government leadership when, now in his early 30's his contacts with those in power in the U.K. and U.S. gives him a chance to expound on the evils and dangers he is seeing in the hate-filled speeches of Hitler and the suppression of rights in Germany. It is at this time that his experiences and insights would be a prime candidate to be asked for help by an American President. Since he had become known as an art lover, he would take the role of an art dealer with many wealthy contacts in the States eager to buy at a bargain basement old masterpieces. Many of these would be sold by families eager to get out while they could and many would be bought or sold or stolen by the Nazi leadership, including Hermann Goering.
       In the fifth novel, which covers two years, '37 and '38, at the request of FDR and to help a friend, Lanny Budd is in Spain during the main period of that nation's civil war, and is able to report back to the White House the rise there of its own form of fascism under the control of Franco.
       Budd is back in England and in Germany during the start of actual war between the two nations in the sixth novel taking place in '39 and '40. Budd is upset when his warnings to Neville Chamberlain go unheeded. He is also coming to the attention, not in a good way, of the Gestapo especially as he harbors a female fugitive from them and helps smuggle her out of harm's way.
       '40-'42 solidifies Budd's position as an covert operative, giving considerable intelligence to both FDR and Churchill while still maintaining the role of a Nazi sympathizer to stay as close to German leadership as he can. He will taste the dangers of such a double life, though, when the French Resistance get hold of him. During this period as well, Budd will take a side trip to the Far East and will see for himself the expanse of Japanese control there.
       During '42 and '43, Budd's operations will reach an even greater height as he is dispatched to Moscow on behalf of FDR and then back to Spain for yet another mission. Budd is, of course, by this time very much into middle age and is starting to show the weariness of what he has been through.
       '43-'44 shows the end nearing for Germany and for Budd's undercover work, things are exceptionally busy. Many of Germany's upper leadership are making plans for fleeing and need the help of Budd's art dealing expertise, providing Budd with excellent inside information on who is planning what. It also puts him squarely in the vision and distrust of the head of the SS, Himmler. When the Allies land in Normandy on D-Day, Budd knows it is time to stop with the charade and join the real war.
       The tenth novel sees the end of the war and a return to civilian life. It will also be a return to his role as Agent 103 when, after the passing of FDR, new President Truman wants his help learning what he can about Stalin's intentions with Eastern Europe, necessitating another trip to the Soviet Union.
       In the final novel of this incredible saga, as Budd nears his 50th birthday, Budd comes to realize his hopes for peace are not going to happen as he watches the iron grip that Stalin has on so many countries.

BOOKS

Number of Books:11
First Appearance:1940
Last Appearance:1953

1 World's End World's End
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1940

This book covers the period of 1913-1919, from just before WWI to just after it, and the span of time from when Lanny Budd was just becoming a teenager living in Europe with his mother to after the War when he was an adult out on his own.
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2 Between Two Worlds Between Two Worlds
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1941

The life of Lanny Budd in the years of 1919-1929 are contained in this book. He will travel extensively about Europe, seeing first-hand how Germany was secretly at first and then openly rebuilding its armaments in preparation for another war. The story ends as the Stock Market Crash occurs.
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3 Dragon's Teeth Dragon's Teeth
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1942

The period of time covered by this book is 1929-1934. Lanny Budd is recently married and enjoying life tremendously, starting out with a cruise aboard a luxury yacht owned by a friend. Soon, though, the economic struggles back in the States will meet up with the horrific actions of the Nazi party as it solidifies control of Germany. By the end of the novel, Budd will be using every effort to free a close Jewish friend from a concentration camp.
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4 Wide Is The Gate Wide Is The Gate
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1943

The years 1934-1937 are the times covered by this novel. Back in England, Lanny Budd is more and more concerned with the evil of the Nazis of Germany and the Fascists of Italy and Spain but his wife just wants to enjoy the life of leisure her inheritance has allowed. Despite his promise to her to stay out of trouble, Budd becomes a double agent using his art dealer connections to get close to Hermann Goering and other art looters, all to keep track of what they are doing to counter them at every opportunity.
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5 Presidential Agent Presidential Agent
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1944

Taking place in the years 1937-1938, this activities depicted in this book concern the meeting and rapport between FDR and Lanny Budd, especially interesting as they mull over the events in the lands of fascism. FDR asks Budd to become an agent for him and Budd agrees. The adventures will come to a close with Budd having to travel inside war-torn Spain to rescue an old friend hunted by Franco and his men.
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6 Dragon Harvest Dragon Harvest
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1945

Continuing his work as a double agent, pretending to favor the fascist ideas to stay in good with Hitler and his advisers, especially Goering, Lanny Budd is really passing back all he learns to FDR. During his time in England, he tries to warn the PM, Chamberlain, to the dangers he is seeing, to no avail. The period covered in this book is 1939-1940 and ends with Budd having to outwit the Gestapo to bring a young woman hunted by them to freedom.
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7 A World To Win A World To Win
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1946

The period 1940-1942 is what is covered in this novel with Lanny Budd deepening his friendship with Churchill, continuing his covert work for FDR, and pretending to still favor the Nazi agenda. He is captured and nearly killed by the French Resistance, almost dies in a plane crash in Canada, and is in Hong Kong when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
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8 Presidential Mission Presidential Mission
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1947

FDR asks Lanny Budd to make a dangerous but important journey to Moscow to meet with Stalin. Along the way he will crash-land in the Sahara as well as meet with leaders in Franco's Spain. The years 1942-1943 unfold in these pages as Budd gets involved in numerous plots and plans, including helping entrap Rudolph Hess into flying to Scotland.
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9 One Clear Call One Clear Call
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1948

1943-1944 see things starting to unravel for the Nazis and sees Lanny Budd continuing his double agent activities while pretending to sell stolen artwork to wealthy Americans on behalf of high-level Germans. His subterfuge is spotted by Himmler of the SS and life is never in more danger. After D-Day, Budd is given the rank of Captain in the Army and put in charge of a detachment to find and rescue as many works of art as they can.
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10 O' Shepherd Speak! O' Shepherd Speak!
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1949

WWII comes to an end in the pages of this volume, spanning 1944-1947. Budd is there when FDR suffers a stroke and dies. He is around a few months later when Truman asks him to continue to be Agent 103 and to travel again to the Soviet Union, this time to get a better idea of what Stalin's plans for post-war Europe are. The events conclude with activity at the Nuremberg Trials.
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11 The Return of Lanny Budd The Return of Lanny Budd
Written by Upton Sinclair
Copyright: 1953

The years of 1946-1949 are what is covered in this book as Budd and family start a Radio Peace Program to try and make sure there is never a Third World War. Budd is asked by the Secret Service to help track down German counterfeiters. He sadly must reevaluate his advise to Truman concerning relations with Stalin as he sees the terrible strife befalling the soon to be Eastern Bloc nations.
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MY COMMENTS

       Lanny Budd for much of his adult life will operate as a spy for FDR and some for Churchill, getting in the upper echelons of German, Spanish, and Russian leadership and reporting back what he sees and learns. In that regard this series is definitely a spy series.
       It is so much more, of course. It is one excellent history lesson told by one exceptionally gifted author over the course of many years. It was his way of recounting all the things he knew to have happened, penned as they took place or immediately thereafter, and he made the most of the opportunity.
       There have been several spy novels which have won awards over the years. Not many but some. A couple even garnered an Edgar, considered the top of the mystery ladder. I believe no other 'spy novel' has won a Pulitzer like Dragon's Teeth did in 1943. That shows the quality of these novels.
       Do not read the 11 books in this series if you are looking for fast action and gratuitous, well, anything. These are tomes, 600+ pages each, filled with tons of atmosphere-building descriptions and lengthy diatribes, which all sound ponderous and not exciting. But the pages also contain incredible thought-provoking prose.
       It was an incredible body of work by a man who had already produced more than his share of classic literature.

GRADE

My Grade: A

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