Coverart for item
The Resource Back channel : a novel, Stephen L. Carter

Back channel : a novel, Stephen L. Carter

Label
Back channel : a novel
Title
Back channel
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Stephen L. Carter
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln-a new novel of terrific suspense and surprise: a brilliant amalgam of fact and fiction about a young black woman on whom the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis depends. October 1962. In Cuba: Soviet ships off-load what intelligence reveals to be nuclear missiles. In Washington, President Kennedy and his advisers are in furious debate over how long they can wait to discover what the Soviets intend before dropping the first bomb. And, in Ithaca, New York, Margo Jensen-a nineteen-year-old Cornell sophomore-is swept up in a "bizarre concatenation of circumstances" that will make of her the "back channel" liaison between Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Kennedy. Events unfold too quickly for her even to ask "why me?" But the stunning answer is revealed bit by bit as she races from Ithaca to Bulgaria to Washington, D.C., drawn ever more deeply into the crossfire-figurative and literal-of infighting between governmental agencies, both American and Soviet; into the confidence and-unsettlingly-the affection of the president of the United States; into desperate negotiations to avoid nuclear war; and, finally, into the secrets of the extraordinary legacy-of honor and bravery-she inherited from the father she never knew"--
Tone
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ In October 1962, when Soviet ships are offloading nuclear missiles in Cuba, Margo Jensen is a young black coed at Cornell, every bit as ambitious as the father she never knew. Though he had an engineering degree, his race kept him from being more than a driver during the war, when he died in a truck accident. So Margo is particularly vulnerable when an esteemed professor recruits her for a mission to serve as part of a “back channel” for secret negotiations between President John Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to prevent a nuclear war. Shuttling between Ithaca, Washington, D.C., and Bulgaria, Margo is entangled in the internecine battles between spy agencies on both sides, unsure who to trust as she is caught in the twists and turns of backstabbing, double-dealing skulduggery. Hawks on both sides threaten to push the odds of nuclear war as the fate of the nation balances on the aplomb of a 19-year-old black coed. Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park, 2002; The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, 2012) renders a fast-paced espionage thriller with tantalizing grains of truth that highlight the general “back channel” in which black Americans have had to operate as citizens for much of the nation’s history. -- Bush, Vanessa (Reviewed 08-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 22, p37)
  • In the prologue of Carter’s intriguing what-if thriller, Margo Jensen, a bright 19-year-old Cornell student, meets privately in Washington, D.C., with President Kennedy, who is trying to navigate the Cuban Missile Crisis without triggering nuclear war. Earlier that fall, Margo became involved in a covert intelligence operation through a brilliant Cornell professor of hers, Lorenz Niemeyer, who’s an expert on Conflict Theory. Margo learns that a Russian chess champion, Vasily Smyslov, has alerted the U.S. to a surprise Soviet move in Cuba. The only way to get more details from Smyslov is to send an American counterpart, Bobby Fischer, to Russia to sound him out, and Fischer will only go if Margo, whom he considers to be a good-luck charm, accompanies him. Carter (The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln ) makes this audacious premise convincing and manages to build suspense around a historical event with a known outcome. Author tour. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed June 30, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 26, p)
  • Yale law professor and best-selling novelist Carter (e.g., The Emperor of Ocean Park ) blends fact and fiction in this story of 19-year-old Margo Jensen, a black Cornell sophomore, who holds the fate of the world in her hands when she finds herself the "back channel" liaison between Soviet Premier Khrushchev and President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis. Billed as mystery but clearly of broad interest; with a reading group guide. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed June 15, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 11, p61)
  • Mutually assured destruction meets the dawning civil rights era in legal scholar/novelist Carterâ€TMs (Yale Law School; The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, 2012, etc.) latest novel.Margo Jensen constantly has to prove herself, especially when sheâ€TMs seated before someone like professor Niemeyer, who, though fearsome, teaches a course on conflict theory that is “among the most popular on the Cornell campus.” Margo, as her name suggests, is a woman, which lowers her categorically in the professorâ€TMs estimation. She's also African-American, which seems not to faze him, certainly not when he helps recruit her to the cause of a nation scrambling to keep up with and beat the Soviets. So it is that Margo jets off to Bulgaria, where she runs afoul of the security apparatus but proves herself sturdy enough to serve as a very much behind-the-scenes intermediary between president and premier, world leaders tasked not just with running their respective countries, but also containing the war factions that clamor for a showdown. Carter is particularly successful at creating an atmosphere of nearly oppressive suspense: As the story unfolds, everyone, it seems, is implicated, even the snotty BMOC who pesters Margo to test the mattresses in the fallout shelter with him. And despite the unlikeliness of the scenario—half a century ago, an African-American traveling either behind the Iron Curtain or outside the kitchen of the White House would attract more attention than Margo does—Carter does a very good job of placing the reader as fly on the wall. Weâ€TMre treated to all kinds of spectacles from that viewpoint, from Bobby Kennedy clashing with Curtis LeMay to spy vs. spy action in the field (“Ainsley hit him hard in the groin and, as he doubled over, harder in the chin”) that features a welcome veteran of other Carter adventures.The tale grinds too slowly at turns and runs a touch too long, but Carter delivers a satisfying historical thriller with some nice cliffhanging moments.(Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2014)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10317373
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1954-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Carter, Stephen L.
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Kennedy, John F.
  • Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich
  • Kennedy, John F.
  • Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
  • African American women
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • African American women
Label
Back channel : a novel, Stephen L. Carter
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1027979
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
455 pages
Isbn
9780385349604
Lccn
2014019240
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385349604
  • (OCoLC)879983537
Label
Back channel : a novel, Stephen L. Carter
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1027979
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
455 pages
Isbn
9780385349604
Lccn
2014019240
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385349604
  • (OCoLC)879983537

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Ruiz BranchBorrow it
      1600 Grove Blvd., Austin, TX, 78741, US
      30.2298616 -97.7070109
    • Terrazas BranchBorrow it
      1105 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX, 78702, US
      30.2599154 -97.7334621
    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
      2200 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX, 78756, US
      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
Processing Feedback ...