When it comes to books I confess to the fact that I do love a good mystery. A story that limbers up the gray matter. I certainly found my ‘fix’ in Gaston Delesdanroux’s book An American’s Story. The mystery however also spills over into real life. Oh oh, I had better explain before I become as mysterious as Gaston himself.

I first heard about An American’s Story a year ago. At that time the author was unclear as to his long term plans for the book. He decided to release it as an E-Book available on his web site. I contacted gaston and he very kindly shared a copy of the document with me.

It was then that they mystery really began. Gaston readily admits in the introduction that the name Gaston Delesdandroux is a ‘Nom De Guerre’ and although a work of ‘fiction’ relies heavily on real events:

This was not a labor of love. Recalling the facts and events are painful, even tearful in some cases, writing them left blood on the keyboard. I kept this project a secret, even from my wife, who 30 years ago urged me to write the story. I did not want to raise these hurtful issues to her again. I gathered my facts quietly, pretending to be editing a manuscript for a friend. I wrote it when she was out shopping, asleep or watching a TV movie. Once I started the process it became compulsive.

In what can only be a great example of the ‘it’s a small world syndrome’ I discovered that Gaston actually lives about 20 miles from me.

An American’s Story presented a conundrum for me, where does fact end and fiction begin? Names and places have been changed, but having talked several times to Gaston he maintains that the book is based factually.

n American’s Story has the Cold War as the backdrop. A period of modern history that I am all too familiar with. Gaston uses the 1950’s and 1960’s as his setting, my experience was in the 1970’s. He was involved with Cryptology, while I was involved in a different arena, fission for Global fun and profit!

What really struck me about An American’s Story is the obvious truthfulness of it. Sure, he has obfuscated information that even though these events took place 50 years ago, they could still have repercussions today.

I am sure that in some dusty filing cabinets are files with both Gaston’s and my names on them. Worse still, inside those files are documents what have our signatures. While neither of us committed any crime, we live in a situation where there is no Statute Of Limitations.

If you missed my original review, you can find it here.

I have to admit that I am so pleased that An American’s Story has found its way to paper. Kindles, Nooks, and the rest of the e-Reader world of devices are fine, but nothing beats the world of real paper. Somehow it adds weight (pun intended) and legitimacy to a story. And this is indeed a story that everyone should read.

I am hoping to lure Gaston into doing a radio interview with me. The Cold War is over, yet so few people even today understand what it was like to be a warrior in those days.

I have a great friend who runs a niche publishing house, he specializes in ‘living history’. Stories have to be told by people that were witnesses to the events. For the Cold War that window, or curtain, is shrinking quickly.

An American’s Story is a curious tale. It may not be to everyones tastes. There are elements that might offend those with more delicate eyes. It is however a very worthwhile excursion into our recent past, and maybe a glimpse into the world we have yet to deal with.

You can order your copy of An American’s Story from Small Dogma, Gaston also has an interesting web site with more information.

Simon Barrett

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