Also of interest ... in international intrigue

A Mosque in Munich

by Ian Johnson

(Houghton Mifflin, $27)

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Ian Johnson’s “stunning” revelation in this compelling new history is that America has been heedlessly allying itself with Islamists since the 1950s, said Daniel Pipes in National Review. Taking a page directly from the Nazis, U.S. intelligence officers recruited militant European Muslims to join in the battle against the godless Soviets. As a result, the anti-West Muslim Brotherhood came to dominate the culture of Islam throughout Europe. In Johnson’s hands, the whole unsettling story reads like “a classic tale of 1950s intrigue.”

Spies of the Balkans

by Alan Furst

(Random House, $26)

The “engaging protagonist” of Alan Furst’s “wonderfully realized” 11th spy novel puts many loved ones in danger when he agrees to help Jews escape 1940s Germany, said Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times. The engrossing plot and “pared-down clarity” of Furst’s prose seem so effortless that you can overlook “just how accomplished a writer he is.” Among other things, Furst “does a remarkable job of re-creating” the moral atmosphere of a time when almost everyone thought democracy was doomed.

The World That Never Was

by Alex Butterworth

(Pantheon, $30)

This book’s subtitle promises tales of 19th-century “dreamers, schemers, anarchists, and secret agents,” said Kirkpatrick Sale in The American Conservative. Many famous revolutionaries of the era do parade through its pages, but Alex Butterworth too often carelessly lumps different movements together. He provides important evidence, though, that a great deal of the bomb-throwing and other violence associated with the time actually “was caused directly” by undercover government agents or provocateurs in their pay.

The Lost Cyclist

by David Herlihy

(Houghton Mifflin, $26)

In the early days of bicycling, a 24-year-old American disappeared in eastern Turkey while attempting to circle the globe, said Robert Sullivan in The New York Times. Telling the story of that ride and of another cyclist’s search for him, David Herlihy brings home “the cluelessness, recklessness, and luckiness—to a point, anyway”—of these adventurers. Shouldn’t someone have told the naïve wheelman he was steering into a battle zone where Armenians were being killed by the thousands?

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