Beverly Hills Spy

Beverly Hills Spy by Ronald Drabkin

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Beverly Hills Spy:

The climate is even great for spying!

Quick synopsis:

The story of Frederick Rutland who spied for the Japanese against America in World War II.

Fact for Non-History People:

Rutland was so poor that when he enlisted in the navy, he was only 5’2” and 85 pounds.

Fact for History Nerds:

In 1930, planes generally had a range of a few hundred miles. By the end of World War II, planes could top 1,000 miles before needing to refuel.

My Take on Beverly Hills Spy:

History is littered with people who are masters of rationalization. Ronald Drabkin’s Beverly Hills Spy introduces us to another expert in dubious justification, Frederick Rutland. Rutland was a hero of World War I who was a pioneer within naval aviation. From there, every single nice thing you might say about him becomes a bit grayer. A devoted family man? Not if you ask his first wife. A fun party guest? Sure, as long as he gets to be the star. Patriot? Kind of, unless you count the time he spied for the Japanese against the United States right before World War II. Yes, he thought this was perfectly fine since he wasn’t spying for the Japanese against Great Britain. The failure in logic was astounding and even Rutland seemed to realize it, but very late in the game.

Rutland’s story is very interesting even if you want to wring his neck most of the time. Drabkin tells the story very smoothly and his prose is easy to read. The book does seem a bit short and there are a lot of characters. Sometimes Rutland fades into the background and the story suffers a bit. That said, there are certainly worse criticisms than, “I want more.” It is highly recommended for World War II buffs who want to read a story they won’t find many other places.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and William Morrow.)


A good book about a story you won’t find anywhere else. Buy it here!

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