Ludlum, Robert: The Aquitaine Progression
(researched by Sarah Farmer)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

The Aquitaine Progression copywright was in 1984 by Robert Ludlum. Random House Inc., New York published the first edition at the same time tha
t Random House of Canada limited did in Toronto. The Lyrics for "I need you Darling" were copywrighted in 1983 by Michael Ludlum. This particular copy was printed in the US and The typography and binding design were by JK Lambert.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition w
as published in cloth.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

The page numbers for the left hand pages are in the upper, left hand corner followed by the author's name. The right pages have the numbers in the upper right-hand corner preceded by the title of the book.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

There is no intro
duction or editor listed for the first edition.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

There is no illustration.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The text of the book is very readable, and it is spaced out enough to be easily read. In some parts, the print is made to look like a computer printout and the type here is
smaller and less readable. The book is well printed and there is no evidence of smudges or misprints in this aprticular edition.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper of the first edition is relatively thick and is holding up beautifully, even though the book is only 13 years
old. It is only slightly yellowed around the edges, but probably due to the storage rather than the original quality. The quality is definiely better than the flimsy paper of some Biblea.

11 Description of binding(s)

I am still trying to find a copy with the original binding, bu
t i will update this assignment as soon as i get it.

12 Transcription of title page

The title page has The title in the lower middle part of the left side of the page in all capitol letters. In the top right hand corner is ROBERT LUDLUM in the same print. In the bottom left-hand co
rner is the Random House icon which is a small house. RANDOM HOUSE NEW YORK is written in smaller print beneath it.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Unable to locate Manuscript holdings but robert Ludlum is a living author.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

The typography was done by JK Lambert. It also appears
as if the typography is Times New Roman, howeever, I cannot be certain.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The Aquitaine Progression was published simultaneously by Random House Inc. in New York and Random House of Canada Limited in toronto. Both ve
rsions were hardback.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

The Banat Export edition was published in April of 1984, and the 2nd printing was in August of 1984. The Bantam edition was published in March of 1985.

6 Last date in print?

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

A letter is going to Bantam Books.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

see above

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

book was reviewed in numerous newspapers and journals including Newsday, Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press, Publishers Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A


13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

There were translations, but as yet, i have been unable to find all of the language

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Robert Ludlum was born on May 25, 1927 in New York, New York. He is a born American and now lives in Naples, Florida. His father, George Hartford, was a businessman, and his mother was Margaret Wadsworth Ludlum.
On March 31, 1951, Ludlum married Mary Ryducha who was an actress. They had three children: Michael,, Jonathan and Glyntis. Ludlum got his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1951 also. His career has included a whole lot of writing, and he also acted a
nd produced for years on Broadway and Television. He is a member of the Authors Guild, Authors League of America, The AMerican Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild. He won the New England Professor of Drama award, in
addition to many other dramatic ones. He has in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1944-1946. Ludlum was 44 at the publication of his first novel, The Scarlatti Inheritance. He has written multiple other suspense and international spy thrillers, such as The Ma
tarese Circle, The Matlock Paper, The Bourne Trilogy, And The Matarese Countdown and The Cry of the Halidon, both of which were published in 1997. Ludlum's agent is Henry Morrison and he lives in New York. Robert Ludlum is still alive.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The Aquitaine Progression was reviewed in many different journals although, like most of his books, it seemed to fade away after the year that it reached the top of the bestsellers list. While many times, it is
mentioned in general reviews of Robert Ludlum, there is nvever any critical relevence to it and it is not mentioned as often as the more recent bestsellers are. According to most of the reviews, The Aquitaine Progression is another in a long series of L
udlum standard plots, with one man who has some random military or intelligence background who finds himself uniquely responsible for saving the world. Sam Cornish of the Christian Science Monitor said 'In his 10th action-iontrigue novel, Ludlum works t
his familiar theme. Only Converse, a self-appointed vigilante, can stop them...' But, he goes on to say that 'Ludlum goes on to create more than merely another Third Reich tale.' it seems that there were qualities in this book that were not found in
all of the other ones that he wrote along the same plot line. The book was also reviewed in Esquire, New-York, New Yok Times, McCleans, Newsday, Associated Press, Publishers Weekly, Cosmopolitan and The Chicago Sun Times.In 1985 there was an edition of
'the Best of Morning Edition' which did a profile of Robert Ludlum and mentioned the book, but it was not centered around it.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

I have been unable to find any subsequent reception history on the Aquitaine Progression. I believe that to be because of th
e fact that Ludlum has published so many books since 1985 that the old ones are easily forgotten as each new one comes out. This is especially true since they almost always follow the same sort of plot line, so it would be difficult for any one of these
books to be prominant on its own for long.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

On March 23, 1983, president Reagan announced plans for a Strategic Defense Initiative in order to ?preserve peace and freedom' all over the world. It was the time to show those crazy Russians who was really boss. The nation was ignited- rumors of cov
ert intelligence operations, stealth nuclear attacks, the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of ?Red China' were rampant This is the environment into which ?The Aquitaine Progression' was born. Though the circumstances surrounding this book were lar
gely unique, and critical to fostering the immense popularity of it, it was, neither a unique genre nor plot-line which emerged in 1984. Because of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), Americans were living in a world of fear, national pride, unity, fragmentation, and most importantly, MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. If either of the two monster superpowers launched a first strike
, everyone would die. This reality was extraordinarily conducive to the type of book that emerged out of the time period. There are three different aspects of life in the early eighties that effected the popularity of this book. The first of these is the most obvious: The Cold War. Spies. Spies were everywhere. Spies were out defending the country from Russian infiltrat
ors and out bringing the defectors into the country. That was what they were doing. Ask anyone. Why is this the way people were thinking? Well, maybe it was the fact that the CIA was active during the Cold War, and people glamorized their role. Mayb
e it was that a couple of stories got out and people thought that they were not only true, but also the norm. Maybe it was all true. Regardless, people thought about it. The mystery of it was enticing, and it was something that maybe made the Cold War
a little more bearable. The Cold War also brought a new wave of national pride into the country. The United States was the crusader of liberty against the monster of oppression. Beyond that, it is likely that there was some level of xenophobia. People were paranoid. Anyon
e could have been a communist. You just didn't know anymore, right? Then the SDI came along- it was the beginning of the Space Race- Star Wars. Reagan and his advisors concocted this wonderful idea to change the tactic of the United States from one of offensive maneuvers to one of defense. The plan was to initiate a re
search and development program to create a satellite that would be able to shoot down ballistic missiles before they had the chance to get to the United States. These systems were known as BMD's- Ballistic Missile Defense. In an address to the nation on May 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan appealed to the masses of the United States to support further expansion of the military through the SDI. With this speech, the message went out that America must continue to be strong. The peop
le were told that America is the policeman of the world and that we had to maintain our power. ?If we stop midstream, we will send a signal of decline, of lessened will, to friends and adversaries alike. Free people must voluntarily, through open debate
and democratic means, meet the challenge that totalitarians pose by compulsion.' (Reagan) The third factor in the American attitude of the time was the general attitude of ?Red paranoia.' As mentioned above, many people were filled with fear of the communists. No one knew who was a spy in their own country, and people actually thought that
there were Russian infiltrators around every corner. All three of these things served to create a general feeling of interest in the intelligence activities of the Cold War. The Aquitaine Progression is about an American lawyer working in Geneva. He receives a call from an opposing attorney requesting a meeting before the actual legal conference. The man, Joel Converse, finds out that his adversary is actually an old frien
d from high school who is drawing on Joel's background as a POW in Vietnam to stop an elite international organization that has goals of taking over the world by creating international instability. There is a client somewhere (Avery wont reveal the name
) who is willing to pay Converse a significant amount of money to investigate the organization, named Aquitaine, and gather enough evidence to legally indict these men. Converse is the only one who can do it- there is no other option. The two catalysts
for him- the things that convinced him to take the initiative to stop Aquitaine, are the fact that the main man in Aquitaine is George Marcus Delavane- the butcher of Vietnam who sent many innocent children to their deaths, and the fact that Avery dies in
Joel's arms after getting shot, whispering ?Aquitaine.' So, Converse embarks on a journey all over Europe meeting with the powerful men of Aquitaine and trying to infiltrate their organization. The story progresses from there, with Joel turning into
the ultimate spy and working with the women he loves- typical of novels. There are several aspects of this book that reflect the time period, and this is why it was so popular. First, and least obviously, the book reflects the growing amount of regret about the Vietnam war. The characters in the book understand that the war
was wrong, and that is what the entire plot is based on- the man that killed so many people there. So as this sentiment grew in the America of the eighties, a book which condemned this mistake was popular. Secondly, with the threat of international annihilation hovering over the population, a novel that shows one lone, brave man saving the world from the totalitarian monsters fosters pride among Americans. He could be any lawyer anywhere called upon to de
fend his nation. Also, as the above quote by Reagan shows, the fear of the world was that totalitarian governments would gain power an become unstoppable. The fear was ubiquitous. So The Aquitaine Progression showed the fear that America had concernin
g the Soviet Union, but used a different organization to represent it. Thirdly, there is an amount of criticism for the intelligence community. It is Converse, and ordinary attorney who accomplishes the goal. He is asked to do it legally which shows that there is concern about the use of covert subversion. Also, when he
attempts to achieve his goal, he is accused of many crimes, and seen as a psychopath in his own country. Animosity towards the good guy is something that Robert Ludlum frequently chooses to demonstrate. This book is not unique in any way. There are a number of other books that were published during the seventies and eighties that have almost the same plotline, by Robert Ludlum and other authors. Usually, they had something to do with Russians, or spie
s. In 1984, The Hunt For Red October came out by Tom Clancy. This was a story of a Russian General who decided to defect without telling anyone. The entire world goes to nuclear alert when his submarine is found missing- ?red paranoia.' In 1980, the
Bourne Identity came out by Robert Ludlum. This had the familiar theme of one man who had to save the world, only this time, it was from a Russian assassin. The Parsifal Mosaic was in 1982, Red Storm Rising in 1986, and the second of the Bourne trilogy-
The Bourne Supremacy. 1988 produced The Cardinal of the Kremlin, by Clancy, and the Icarus Agenda by Ludlum. All of these books are spy thrillers- and almost all of them are about a man who has to take on a new role to work against national enemies- Th
e United States comes first. This genre is not unique to the eighties, however. Picture this: an ordinary attorney finds out from a source that there is a group of Americans that are planning international evil. The only person that can stop them is that one attorney. That book w
as written by Robert Ludlum and published in 1972. It is called The Osterman Weekend. Next, there is a college professor who finds out that there is a giant drug racket conspiracy taking place at his own university. He is informed that he is the only o
ne who can stop it. That is The Matlock Paper, published in 1973. In the Cry of the Halidon, there is a yung geologist who is sent to Jamaica to do a survey, and ends up caught in the intelligence fiasco. 1973, a man who used to be the undersecretary o
f state was selected to do an investigation ans was, once again launched into the world of international intrigue. That one is Trevayne. Why is this such a popular theme? Well, it more than likely has something to do with the combination of fear of the big government, and fear of foreign forces as mentioned above. It made people feel good to think that an ordinary man could go out and s
ave his country. It could be any doctor, lawyer, or businessman. It cannot, according to Ludlum, be a lower class person though. All of his characters are hugely successful, if not famous. The Aquitaine Progression is a book that is only a representative of the type of books that were popular during the Cold War. It is a member of the family of books generated from the fear and the focus of the time period, and it was a combination of all
the things that people worried about in their everyday lives. One reviewer The Osterman Weekend that it ?exposes the inadequacies of American Intelligence and our deepest fears that our friends cannot be trusted.' Now that the Cold War is over, we wi
ll inevitably see a decrease in the number of spy novels, just as all plots change with the times. This only goes to show the extent to which public opinion effects the writing of the stories and also their success in the world of the American novel.

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