Enemies within and without: foreign and domestic affairs in the spy thriller novels of Helen MacInnes, Dorothy Gilman, and Robert Ludlum, 1940-1990.

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Carter, Thomas
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Middle Tennessee State University
Despite their best-seller status and their promise to open a window on the influence of popular culture on Cold War attitudes, spy thrillers have not yet received adequate scholarly attention. This dissertation examines the novels of Helen MacInnes, Dorothy Gilman, and Robert Ludlum and analyzes how contemporary events from 1940 to 1990 shaped their story lines and the content of spy thrillers and conversely how these authors interpreted world affairs for their readers.
This study concludes that six major themes underscore the messages of MacInnes, Gilman, and Ludlum. It considers the extent to which ordinary individuals as opposed to a superhero solves problems, violence is a main ingredient of the story, and technology provides the solution to the predicament that ensnares the protagonist. Other prominent elements are the roles that women play in the novels, the values represented therein, and the attitude and means employed to confront evil.
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