The Making of a Spy by Jay Johnson

The Making of a SpyThe Making of a Spy by Jay Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An all-encompassing human dramatization...

Everything that we experienced during our childhood is somehow going to influence us as adults. We use the experiences that we have had so far in our lives and, more important, we create experiences to become what we want to be. The Making of a Spy by Jay Johnson tells a very interesting a poignant story of a boy, Isiac, who has to provide for his family from a young age. It documents his early years to his adulthood where he is drafted into the army in 1942 with his friend Fritz. His childhood experiences, along with the skills he learned in the Army, turn out to play a fundamental role in the ‘The Making of a Spy.’

The book description gives a sneak preview: ‘Isiac grew up without a father. His grandfather began teaching Isiac to hunt and fish when he was only 6 years old. That helped Isiac develop his skills of observation. Isiac acquired the ability to notice even the slightest changes in his environment and to interpret their causes… During the Great Depression, Isiac used his hunting and fishing skills to feed his mother, sister, and brother. Isiac's experience with and participation in bootlegging taught him the importance of planning. His skills in developing plans and contingency plans helped Isiac to anticipate potential problems. Isiac learned that it is much easier to avoid potential problems than it is to try to solve them once they occur… By the time Isiac was 15 years old, he had a black belt in Judo and was multi-lingual: He was fluent in English, German, Japanese, and Polish… When WW2 began, Isiac was drafted into the Army. Although unintentional, Isiac's childhood experiences, along with the skills he learned in the Army, became an integral part in The Making of a Spy.’

I was impressed with the insight and empathy of the writer into the spirits of his characters. The beauty of this book is in the potency of the characters and the author's mastery of the language. The originality of this story lies in the effectiveness of the characters and the author's microscopic viewpoint of the human condition. The most outstanding features of the book are the hauntingly real characters in the story and the author's eloquence and mastery with the use of the English language.

The author weave an all-encompassing human dramatization that gives "The Making of a Spy" a resounding bite and vibrant potency. Johnson’s crisp writing allows his world to encompass the reader, leaving them mesmerized. Highly recommended reading and a well-deserved five stars from me.

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