1960s U.N.C.L.E. novel cited in New Yorker commentary

David McDaniel's The Dagger Affair

David McDaniel’s The Dagger Affair

This blog doesn’t do politics. However, a political commentary in The New Yorker does utilize spy fiction to make its case about the U.S. presidential election. Specifically, it cites The Dagger Affair, one of the 1960s Ace paperback novels based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series.

The novel was written by David McDaniel, who came up with an origin for Thrush, the villainous organization opposed by U.N.C.L.E.

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, while not referencing The Dagger Affair nor McDaniel by name, uses the novel’s plot to illustrate the commentary about the election.

Here’s the key excerpt, which is the first (long) paragraph of the essay.

Somewhere in a paperback novel from the nineteen-sixties inspired, or willed into existence, by the “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” television series, the brave men of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement find themselves actually sharing lunch with old enemies as they make a temporary alliance with the evil forces of THRUSH (the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity—really) in order to defeat an outsider dangerous to both. They have joined forces, despite a century of enmity and countless encounters involving rogue agents and femmes fatales, because together they recognize that both sides—indeed, mankind itself—are threatened by a mad nihilist. (If a twelve-year-old’s memory serves, the nihilist, a super-scientist, has built a machine that negates energy itself.) Everything else, they agree, comes second to this threat. They make a toast, and a truce, to coöperate until the nihilist is defeated.

It should be noted that McDaniel’s novel isn’t canon. In the 1964-68 series, Thrush was just Thrush. However, many U.N.C.L.E. fans have adopted McDaniel’s version. The writer linked Thrush to Professor Moriarty, arch-foe of Sherlock Holmes. But Thrush as an acronym exists only in the Ace paperbacks, not on the show.

The main point of The New Yorker article concerns the relationship between Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the Republican nominees for president and vice president. If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE.

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One Response

  1. The entire article is just full of the usual anti Trump rhetoric. You should not link U.N.C.L.E. to this anti Trump garbage. There are so many outright LIES told about Trump, much like the lies told about Rush Limbaugh. The biggest canard against Trump as stated by the hater and monumental liar, Tim Kaine in the debates, was that Trump HATES Mexicans. His 500 companies employ hundreds of people of color and nationalities including Mexicans. Trump’s personal gardener is Latino & he refused to allow him to retire telling him ” retirement is death ” and gave him a raise to have him stay. I’ve watched all his speeches. Not a single word to that effect ever. Trump hates illegal alien criminals and wants us to enforce our immigration laws. The Left will never admit that a sizable number of illegals are felons. Two of them raped a little girl recently. Others have raped, ROBBED and murdered. And our government has screwed up and released some of them because they couldn’t get the paperwork right.

    I was a friend of David McDaniel and every time I look at my U.N.C.L.E. books, memorabilia & my autographed pictures of Robert Vaughn & David McCallum that are on the wall across from me as I type this, I think of him and how I still miss him.

    Ted, as I used to call him, got Norman Felton to appoint me the head of the Las Vegas satrap of T.H.R.U.S.H..

    Sadly the signed parchment with the signatures of Felton & Rolfe burned up in a fire in 1977 in my apartment.

    Our satrap invented ” your call is important to us “, the ” you are driving the wrong way ” spikes in parking lots, ( once saw a Sacramento sheriff’s car drive over one of those at my apt building in Sacramento, blew all 4 tires ), and so much more.

    What happens in Vegas IS the fault of T.H.R.U.S.H..

    I enjoy your emails and forward them to friends.

    For the hierarchy, I remain,

    Disobediently Yours,

    George Senda

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