Title: The Last Hero
Author: Anthony Cave Brown
Brown, Anthony Cave (1984). The Last Hero : Wild Bill Donovan: The Biography And Political Experience of Major General William J. Donovan, Founder of The OSS And “Father” of The CIA, From His Personal And Secret Papers And The Diaries of Ruth Donovan. New York: Times Books
Date Updated: April 2, 2015
This is the second of the biographies of Donovan. It was closely controlled in content, and much of the OSS material was still classified when Brown wrote the book.
The author clearly is trying to write the definitive biography. However, he really seems to have no insights into Donovan himself. In order to fill the space of the book (over 800 pages), he loads it down with minutiae about OSS operations. For example, he quotes portions of memos that easily could have been summarized in a sentence or two, and dedicates entire chapters to minor incidents and personalities in WWII. The author also has a completely unengaging writing style. As a result, the book is dry and long. The subject matter is interesting, but the book is a long slog.
Brown repeats a number of anecdotes about Donovan that have since proven to be untrue. Among them is the story that Donovan entered Paris in a jeep along with Ernest Hemmingway. This is patently false.