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At the dawn of the Cold War, a 23-year-old spy named Donald Nichols out-hustled the CIA and U.S. Army intelligence. He was given his own secret base in Korea, his own secret army, and a “legal license to murder.” Nichols would become America’s Kurtz, reigning for 11 grisly years in a shadowland of torture and mass killings—and setting the stage for endless turmoil on the Korean Peninsula.

Blaine Harden, a long-time reporter for the Washington Post, the New York Times and now PBS Frontline, is the author of King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea. Harden’s investigative biography reveals the spectacular rise and sordid fall of a black-ops phenomenon that most Americans have never heard of—because he was ultimately betrayed by his own government. The book explains the origins of the nuclear crisis posed by North Korea today.

Sponsored by InvestigateWest, The Reed College Quest, and Reed Magazine.

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