Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s surefire-hit starring Tom Hanks was written by some familiar names too: Matt Charmann, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen wrote the screenplay. All that star power amasses around an incredible true story that author James Donovan published in 1964, after he’d lived the adventure in its pages. Donovan’s personal history is extraordinary — a Harvard Law School grad who was an associate prosecutor at Nuremberg. But it was this Cold War spy case that was the crown jewel in his admirable career.
Bridge of Spies is inspired by the true events in Donovan’s life during the Cold War. His 1964 book, Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers, was called “remarkable” and “enthralling” by the New York Times when it was published half a century ago. And that review was written by Alan Dulles, the former chief of the CIA.