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

2018 . Crime, History, Non-fiction . Ben Macintyre

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About the book


The celebrated author of A Spy Among Friends and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Cold War-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union. 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.










0771060335 (ISBN13: 9780771060335)



Markus Marañon Straarup image

7 months ago


What a fantastic story. Starts slow but picks up fast! The last half of the book is extremely thrilling and suspenseful. Definitely worth a read! Thanks for recommending @FrederickHollesen


Morten V Schroeder image

7 months ago


Fantastic spy thriller about the Cold War that will keep you at the edge of your seat! The story is so good you’d think it’s made up, but it’s all true. I also really enjoyed learning more about the spy game during the Cold War between Russia and the ‘Allies’. It’s kind of crazy how much the entire fate of the world could have been altered if it was not Oleg 👏 It didn’t captivate me immediately, but once you’re 1-2 hours in it’s really good! Bonus is of course that parts of story takes place in Copenhagen which is fun! Thanks @FrederickHollesen for the rec 🙏

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