3 out of 4 stars
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The Doughnut Boy, written by Michael Dennis, is an interesting, detailed look into the secrecy surrounding spies and other government agents during WWII. Dennis’ father, James Dennis, had been a teenage spy recruited by the U.S. government to spy on Germany. He delivered pastries to the army headquarters in Berlin and gathered intelligence without being caught, because, “Who doesn’t love the doughnut boy?”. However, James’ file has been sealed until 2045, so Dennis grew up with very little information about what his father actually did.
The book details Michael Dennis’ childhood, teen, and college years and his father’s influence over him, then goes in depth about Dennis’ research trying to find out more about his father. His father, of course, could not tell him much, but Dennis was able to piece together some circumstantial evidence to try and figure out at least where he’d been and when. The amount of in-depth research is staggering – it sounds like something my own father would be interested in, as ancestry and historical research is one of his passions.
I was impressed with how clean and professional the book was. There was not a single typo or grammatical error that I noticed. The book was well-organized and very detailed. Photos, images of old documents, and clearly separated entries from historical records are interspersed with the author’s commentary toward the end of the book, and you can feel his frustration while digging through these complex and not-always-truthful official statements trying to get at what really happened.
The only issue I had with this book was a small one, but it felt like a bigger deal while I was reading it than it does now. I feel like the book’s title and synopsis slightly misrepresent what the book is about. This is not a book about the author’s father – it’s more of the author’s autobiography, with emphasis on his father’s influence and the author’s search for the truth of what his father did during the war. Most of the information about “the doughnut boy” are the author recounting conversations with his father in which small amounts of his father’s experience is mentioned but is definitely not the hair-raising escapades I was hoping for when I first read the synopsis.
I give The Doughnut Boy 3 out of 4 stars for its readability and detail. The only reason I took off a point is that I think it only appeals to certain audiences, namely those who are interested in detailed history and genealogy. I personally enjoyed reading it, but I feel I would have enjoyed it more if this had been a topic I was passionate about.
The Doughnut Boy
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