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Ken Follett Papers: Research Process

Materials related to the author Ken Follett. Guide author: Thomas Zantow

Research Examples

Research Examples for

The contents of this page are the result of a collaborative effort of Jack Woods and Thom Zantow in December 2007. 

SVSU accepts no responsibility for the content of this page. Comments on this page should be directed to

Research Process Exhibit


  • Research Example #1 [pdf]
    • Letter to Pamela Ferguson 28 September 1978 (1p.) [ Box 2 Folder 10]
      • Clarifying details about head of Special Operations for Mossad
      • "Reality check" to see if theory holds up with someone knowledgeable in that area

On Wings of Eagles

  • Research Example #2 [pdf]
    • Comments from H. Ross Perot [November 1981?] (3pp.) [ Box 6 Folder 22]
      • Perot responding to specific detail questions from Follett
      • Focus on feelings, opinions of many situations, details
  • Research Example #3 [pdf]
    • Comments from Merv Stauffer 6 July 1982 (2pp.) [ Box 6 Folder 32]
      • Stauffer pointing out factual errors and offering overall evaluation of manuscript
      • Comments are very direct and opinions are unambiguous
  • Research Example #4 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from [Caren Meyer (?)] aka " La Japonaise" 3 January 1982 (2pp.) [ Box 7 Folder 37]
      • Response to various questions from Follett including corrections of details
      • Challenge of following up on information about mercenaries and CIA, etc.
  • Research Example #5 [pdf]
    • Correspondece to H. Ross Perot 11 August 1982 (5pp.) [ Box 7 Folder 39]
      • Request to Perot to ask others for more information about their arrival back in Dallas from Iran
      • In response to criticism that his ending is weak, Follett seeks more information to punch up the conclusion
  • Research Example #6 [pdf]
    • Correspondence between Michael Sandler and Thomas W. Luce III 19 November 1981 (1p.) [ Box 7 Folder 43]
      • Comments on inadequacy of released FOIA documents and noting State Department denial of several document requests
      • FOIA requests were related to rescue of Bill Gaylord and Paul Chiapparone, but few documents actually did
  • Research Example #7 [pdf]
    • Bill from Daniel Starer 15 December 1981 (1p.) [ Box 7 Folder 44]
      • Itemized bill
      • Research related to US Army Colonel Arthur David Simons
  • Research Example #8 [pdf]
    • Correspondence to Hosain Dadger, Minister of Justice, Iran 31 January 1982 (2pp.) [ Box 7 Folder 55]
      • Request for an interview to help provide an unbiased view in book
      • Includes list of major questions with invitation to respond in writing if an in-person interview is not possible

Lie Down with Lions

  • Research Example #9 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Daniel Starer 24 June 1985 (2pp.) [ Box 10 Folder 18]
      • Suggestions for readers, paid and unpaid, for manuscript of Lie Down with Lions
      • Letter reveals desire for diverse and authoritative perspectives
  • Research Example #10 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Rosanne Klass to Daniel Starer 10 July 1985 (2pp.) [ Box 10 Folder 24]
      • Suggestions from the Director of the Afghanistan Information Center of the Freedom House for authentic Afghan readers
      • Notes difficulty in obtaining English-speaking women from the specific valley that would be able to distinguish between "a work of imaginative fiction and a scholarly document".
  • Research Example #11 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Daniel Starer 14 August 1985 (2pp.) [ Box 10 Folder 41]
      • Discussion of translation of "Panjsher" as "Five Lions" instead of "Five Tigers"
      • Working title of Lie Down with Lions had been Five Tigers

A Dangerous Fortune / All the Proud and Mighty

  • Research Example #12 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Daniel Starer 22 May 1992 (1p.) [ Box 20 Folder 31]
      • Cover letter for materials on balls at Buckingham Palace
      • Letter promises separate mailing of the book The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball and a Times description of the 1874 ball at Buckingham Palace
  • Research Example #13 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Joanna Bourke 24 November 1992 (1p.) [ Box 20 Folder 43]
      • Apologies for previously sent rushed note and promises for more information.
      • Ms. Bourke is in the Dept. of History and the University of London and offers, among other things, references to the language of Victorian England including slang words used in period pornography

The Third Twin

  • Research Example #14 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Kenneth David Burrows 29 April 1996 (4pp. of 9pp. document) [ Box 26 Folder 39]
      • Detailed letter covering possible defamation, etc. for character names.
      • Even though Mr. Follett is covered within law Mr. Burrows nonetheless suggests prudent changes on a case by case basis in response to research already completed by Daniel Starer
  • Research Example #15 [pdf]
    • Correspondence to Dan Starer 30 April 1996 (1p.) [ Box 26 Folder 40]
      • Instructions to Mr. Starer to check changes to character names (per Mr. Burrows' recommendations)
      • In light of Mr. Follett's impending delivery of the final typescript to the publisher the sense of urgency to this research is reflected in faxed correspondence and a request for rush research
  • Research Example #16 [pdf]
    • Correspondence from Kenneth David Burrows 4 June 1996 (1p.) [ Box 26 Folder 46]
      • Response to Mr. Starer's research on character name changes, discussion of laws of privacy, etc. as they apply to the names
      • Mr. Burrows apologizes for the delay caused by his enjoyment of reading through the manuscript. A few final changes are suggested