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Book Neither Five nor Three by Helen MacInnes (1981-11-12)


Neither Five nor Three by Helen MacInnes (1981-11-12)

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Review Text

  • By Gene Birkeland on September 8, 2008

    All Helen MacInnes' adventure/spy novels are as well written as anything LeCarre wrote, but more than that, were based on facts. Her husband was a member of England's MI5, Intelligence, which contributed to her knowledge of the doings of Soviet's Smersh and the implements of death developed in Dept 13. One member of my family thought Smersh was a fiction, was astonished when she learned it actually existed! This particular novel was one of MacInnes' first and the premise on which it is based, is just as true today as when written -- 2 and 2 are still four, neither 5 nor 3 -- as political spinners would have us believe -- never more true than when selling the public on a candidate for office!

  • By Susan B. Hanley on January 1, 2014

    I am a Helen MacInnes fan the second time around. I read many of her books when young. Now I find myself more critical, but once you accept the coincidences and improbabilities as needed for the plot, you can get caught up in the suspense. This is the sixth or so of the reissues I have read, and the others all seemed logical in the author's fight again Nazism and communism.This book is different from most in that it takes place in New York, not Europe. Written around 1950, it describes in detail life in the U.S. at mid-century, and reminded me especially of the role of women then, the restrictions they faced, how men treated them, and more. So what was chilling? As I read along I realized that the premise of the book that the communists were everywhere and it might be possible for Americans, in our attitude that everything was free and permissible, to be caught by this subversive political philosophy as it infiltrated our society. Secret communists could be anyone and we wouldn't know who they were until it might be too late. By mid-book, I realized that I now knew why and how Americans had permitted the McCarthy witch hunts to take place, something I had never fully understood.So I recommend this book for two reasons: 1) It's a suspenseful read and a great introduction to life in mid-century. 2) It helps you understand how Americans felt about communism in 1950. And if the communists could subvert our values, so did this popular novel do much the same.I am now thinking again about the political stance in the other popular spy stories MacInnes wrote. This book isn't just escape reading; it really makes you think!

  • By Maria Elisa Nalegach on April 7, 2000

    My first contact with Helen MacInnes was when I was 13 years old and found Neither five nor three in the school library. From then on I have searched for her books in my country in the US and France. I keep rereading my torn copy. In these times the way Helen MacInnes depicts the struggle between communism and democracy may seem out of date, yet the characters, on both sides are very well built, with depth and humor. You can relate to them, feel the atmosphere of those cold war years. One of the things that are more impressing is the fact you feel watched and cornered as if you were deep behind the iron curtain while the novel is set in downtown New York. At the same time, you have your share of humor which give you time to catch your breath. Overall an excellent book which has kept over the years.

  • By S. D. Bryerman on September 4, 2013

    I love, love most of her books. Not all, but most. We are fated to repeat history until we learn from it. Many of her plots and observations are true today, whether in the far east or in the Soviet Union or just in human nature. She remains one of my favorite authors. Do not be put off by the somewhat dated locations, morals and lack of 21st century action. The eye for detail and the thought that in the end good will triumph is timeless.

  • By katemily on October 24, 2013

    I've always enjoyed Helen MacInnes and it is wonderful to see her in ebooks. This is a classic 50's story, just like the movies from this time. Also, so interesting to see her version of the Communist problem starting at the end of WWII. It has a Mad Men touch, early seasons. Everything from he action of a thriller to the romance to the descriptions of how people lived at this time. Enjoy!

  • By Diana M. on September 15, 2017

    I never tire of reading her novels. They are like old friendsDi

  • By Karen Dinsmore on August 30, 2013

    She always teaches me a little history. I wasn't aware of many of the problems following the war.The characters are well drawn.

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