Jockey on a Crocodile
This man has led a fascinating life. As a young boy, he visited Berlin in the 1930s. Later, his teenage antics led to him joining the army. From there, he stole secrets in Korea, went undercover in Argentina, tapped wires in Berlin, and uncovered an assassination plot in Paris. At some point in there, he moved from the army to the CIA. This is all before he turned thirty.
In his almost-memoir, L.H. Knickerbocker tells of these adventures in a very humble, nonchalant way, presenting all of his success as purely accidental. The most interesting parts of his life, according to Knickerbocker, are the ladies. A lot of the book focuses on his encounters with various women, including his affairs and desires.
Though entertaining, the story doesn’t really seem to have a narrative arc. Rather than a standard tale, this book is more a collection of snippets, brief episodes in an exciting life. These episodes are alternately funny, sad, historically interesting, and always engaging. The writing style is very readable and friendly. Knickerbocker would be a wonderful person to have a drink with; however, I wish his memoir focused just a little more on what he was doing and a little less on who he wished he was doing it with. Also, as Knickerbocker himself admits, the story just suddenly ends. Luckily, he hints at writing more.