Ben Macintyre

The Spy and the Traitor : The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

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Highlights

Book FormatPaperback
AuthorBen Macintyre
Publication DateSeptember, 2018
ISBN-139781984841537
GenreHistory/Modern - 20th Century
Traces the story of Russian intelligence operative Oleg Gordievsky, revealing how his secret work as an undercover MI6 informant helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

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Traces the story of Russian intelligence operative Oleg Gordievsky, revealing how his secret work as an undercover MI6 informant helped hasten the end of the Cold War.NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets. 

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.

Specifications

Series Title
Random House Large Print
Publisher
Diversified Publishing
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
608
Author
Ben Macintyre
Is Large Print
Y
ISBN-13
9781984841537
Publication Date
September, 2018
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.20 x 6.00 x 1.03 Inches
ISBN-10
198484153X

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(4.8)out of 5 stars
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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

A very good, gripping ...

A very good, gripping account of a very impressive individual who gave at great personal cost, his life to an ideal. Told in a forthright and well paced manner, this complex story is adroitly handled by the author who's writing style is easy to follow and intriguing. A well balanced character portrait as well as an account of amazing agent running and a nail biting escape mission, this is espionage writing at its best. Recommended.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Was Michael Foot, lead...

Was Michael Foot, leader of the British Labour Party, a Soviet agent? Was Jack Jones, head of the country's largest trade union, one as well? According to KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky, they both were. (Foot's code name was 'boot'.) Reaction among today's Labour leadership to Ben MacIntyre's latest bestselling book has been as expected. Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that 'Smearing a dead man, who successfully defended himself when he was alive, is about as low as you can go'. Perhaps. There are non-fiction books that are described as 'thrilling', but this is the rare case of one that actually is, even if it turns out that Gordievsky was wrong about Foot and Jones. By the first page of the book you realise that Gordievsky is going to wind up safely in Britain after years of secretly spying for the west, and yet the long and detailed account of his exfiltration from the USSR in the mid-1980s is full of tension and suspense. A fascinating story, extremely well told.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Journalist Ben Macinty...

Journalist Ben Macintyre, in his meticulously researched work of non-fiction, "The Spy and the Traitor," recounts how top officials in the KGB (Committee of State Security) and Britain's MI6 (Foreign Intelligence Service) expended a great deal of time, money, and effort to obtain high-quality information about their adversaries during the Cold War. The central figure in this revealing book is Oleg Antonyevich Gordievsky, a KGB agent who, after becoming a British asset, passed on reams of intelligence to his handlers. In doing so, he risked his career, reputation, and personal safety. Unlike other spies, such as the infamous Aldrich Ames, Gordievsky was not motivated by ego or greed. After being posted to such countries as Denmark and England, Oleg became entranced with Western culture and values, which he found enriching, entertaining, and inspiring. In contrast, he came to see Russian society as overly restrictive and devoid of intellectual stimulation."The Spy and the Traitor" is fascinating on many levels. The author furnishes us with an introduction to the inner workings of the KGB. In addition, he shows how the intelligence establishments in England, the United States, and Russia competed with one another in their eagerness to gain the upper hand. Furthermore, Macintyre helps us understand the thought-processes of Gordievsky, a brilliant, courageous, and principled man who had a facility for languages and a prodigious memory. For more than a decade, he successfully juggled two identities. On the outside he was a party apparatchik and family man, but unbeknownst to his colleagues, relatives, and friends, he betrayed his government for ideological reasons. Although he did not ask for remuneration, Gordievsky eventually accepted payment for his services. He was particularly insistent that if the KGB became aware of his clandestine activities, MI6 should have a workable "emergency escape plan" in place. This compelling story sheds light on how Gordievsky's insider knowledge influenced major political and diplomatic events during the Cold War. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Macintyre provides not just facts, but also colorful anecdotes and illuminating perspectives about this perilous era. Moreover, the author discusses how such major figures as Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Ronald Reagan interacted with one another. One minor quibble is that Macintyre inundates us with so much detail that it is difficult to keep track of all the characters and the roles that they play in the proceedings. Still, this entertaining and enlightening narrative is well worth reading for its authenticity and relevance to today's world. "The Spy and the Traitor" is a suspenseful and riveting account of an extraordinary individual who risked a great deal in his determination to strengthen democracy and undermine his country's repressive regime.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Ben Macintyre can dig ...

Ben Macintyre can dig deep into some espionage and military history then tell a great story about it. That's exactly what he's done here. Oleg Gordievsky was a KBG Colonel who rose to the head of the London rezidentura before he was uncovered as a long-time spy for MI6, by no less than CIA head of counterintelligence Aldrich Ames, who was spying for the USSR. Macintyre describes Gordievsky's career, family life, and the years he lived a double life. He not only provided information but provided insight into how Margaret Thatcher should approach meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev during a summit in London. A captivating cold war story.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

One of the great st sp...

One of the great st spy stories yet, this is the tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.


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