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The Last Goodnight

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by The_Historian, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "There was virtually no man alive who could withstand the relentless onslaught of Betty Pack, and no secret that she couldn’t winkle out of them as they lay helpless in her arms.
    An American-born beauty who put her unique talents at the service of Britain, she has been acclaimed as one of the most successful spies in history, though she is certainly also one of the most unsung.
    World War II’s answer to Mata Hari, she waged a relentless war against the Nazis and their allies — one lover at a time.
    In its obituary on her death in 1963, Time magazine noted admiringly how she ‘used the bedroom like Bond uses a Beretta’.
    Now she is the subject of a revealing new biography, The Last Goodnight, by Howard Blum, which makes use of previously confidential information about Betty’s deeds. The story has already been snapped up by Hollywood with Jennifer Lawrence a favourite to play her.
    A fellow MI6 agent described how the master seductress would ‘lock on’ to a man with her ‘radiant smile and emerald-green eyes’.
    He added: ‘The trick of making a man feel he is her entire universe is an old feminine wile, but she had it to the nth degree.’
    Meeting her nearly 20 years after the war finished, when she was in her 50s, he found her ‘electric force undiminished’.
    The Minnesota-born daughter of a decorated U.S. Marines officer, Betty — born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe — was raised in polite society circles in Washington DC but, from the age of 14, was highly promiscuous.
    There were no shortage of takers. Well-bred, poised and very intelligent, she had a flawlessly slim and tall figure combined with a ravishing, auburn-haired beauty.
    When in 1930 she suddenly fell pregnant at 19, she didn’t know who the father was. She escaped scandal by marrying Arthur Pack, a strong-jawed but stuffy British diplomat who was more than twice her age. Their marriage was doomed from the start, particularly after he convinced her to have her son, Tony, given to foster parents after he was born while they were in London. (Sadly, they never took him back and Tony died in the Korean War, leading a charge that won him the Military Cross).
    She became a British citizen and, as a diplomat’s wife, suddenly found new avenues to satisfy her yearning for adventure, both sexual and political.
    Her string of lovers included an aristocratic British journalist who introduced her to his boss, the Press baron Lord Beaverbrook.
    He in turn mentioned her to his friends in British Intelligence. Betty, they agreed, had the perfect combination of beauty, intelligence and ‘shaky moral compass’ to make a very useful spy."
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

    Aug 9, 2011
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    Just reading this! It's all very interesting but I think I have an insight on Betty Pack, her married name, or as she was known in British intelligence circles, "Cynthia". I'm about half-way through the book and I've lost track of all the lovers she had. At one time she was juggling three lovers: her husband, her boyfriend, and a Catholic priest (?)! She lost her virginity at about 14. She was, what many people would call, a "slut". However, there was more here than meets the eye. Having spent the major part of my working life as a mental health professional, I quickly realized that Betty was probably a person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. People with this disorder feel "empty" unless they have a lot of drama going on in their life. Their relationships are usually intense but shallow and they tend to over-value people and situations and then simply undervalue them or lose interest. (Betty basically abandoned her two children.) They can be quite seductive (believe me on this one) and generally leave a lot of broken hearts in their wake as well as a lot of emotional chaos. However, even by BPD standards, Betty's seductive ability was exceptional! It seems that being a spy was the one thing that Betty was able to keep on doing because being a spy kept her from feeling empty and had LOTS of excitement. She had no problems using friends or enemies, sexually or otherwise, to further her aims. In short, she was a perfect for the trade. In fact, Blum's description of Betty and her behaviors almost make her the poster child for this disorder.

    On further reflection, I realized that James Bond, the fictional creation of Ian Fleming who had been in British Intelligence, exhibits the same traits. A side note here: while most diagnosed "borderlines" are female, men also can suffer from this disorder. Fleming made up Bond from a combination of people he knew. So, I have to wonder if the British, and probably most other intelligence agencies, either consciously or unconsciously recruited people with this disorder. An interesting hypothesis!
    lwd likes this.

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