The Spy and the Traitor
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.

The Spy and the Traitor Details

TitleThe Spy and the Traitor
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 18th, 2018
PublisherSignal
ISBN-139780771060335
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Spy Thriller, Espionage, Cultural, Russia

The Spy and the Traitor Review

  • Brandon Forsyth
    January 1, 1970
    Macintyre's best yet! A truly staggering story told by a consummate storyteller. That being said, it's pretty clear that the book's sources are fairly biased towards Gordievsky, and while Macintyre does a good job noting where his sources are displaying overt nostalgia or actively misremembering motivations, there's not a strong voice to counteract the overall tone of the narrative SIS officers and agents are providing here. Still, that's not really why I read Ben Macintyre: I read him for the p Macintyre's best yet! A truly staggering story told by a consummate storyteller. That being said, it's pretty clear that the book's sources are fairly biased towards Gordievsky, and while Macintyre does a good job noting where his sources are displaying overt nostalgia or actively misremembering motivations, there's not a strong voice to counteract the overall tone of the narrative SIS officers and agents are providing here. Still, that's not really why I read Ben Macintyre: I read him for the pulse-pounding "you are there" writing, the amazing stranger-than-fiction details, and the brave actions of individuals in shaping the course of history. On all of those metrics, this book delivers and delivers and delivers. There were two moments that literally had me holding me breath here. The courage and intelligence of those involved in this story are truly inspiring. Not to be missed.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    With the current state of affairs between Russian and the UK, this story is more relevant than ever, and I suspect it will always be of interest to those who enjoy this genre. Ben MacIntyre is a fantastic writer and knows exactly how to grab the reader and hold them in place from first page to last. I found this as compelling and thrilling as any fiction book would be. Accurate and meticulously researched, this is a book not to be missed. I will be sure to look out for any future work the author With the current state of affairs between Russian and the UK, this story is more relevant than ever, and I suspect it will always be of interest to those who enjoy this genre. Ben MacIntyre is a fantastic writer and knows exactly how to grab the reader and hold them in place from first page to last. I found this as compelling and thrilling as any fiction book would be. Accurate and meticulously researched, this is a book not to be missed. I will be sure to look out for any future work the author decides to publish as it is evident he is a very gifted writer. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book.
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  • Kevin M
    January 1, 1970
    An exceptional read!Everything you could want from a spy story: descriptions of trade craft, code names, depictions of all the facets of being a spy, from the humdrum review and contact of low level targets to moments of pants-distressing terror. And all the more captivating for it all being true!The names have been changed, but the events spanning around two decades during the height of the Cold War are all very much non-fiction. Oleg Gordievsky, starting when merely a newly minted KGB man in C An exceptional read!Everything you could want from a spy story: descriptions of trade craft, code names, depictions of all the facets of being a spy, from the humdrum review and contact of low level targets to moments of pants-distressing terror. And all the more captivating for it all being true!The names have been changed, but the events spanning around two decades during the height of the Cold War are all very much non-fiction. Oleg Gordievsky, starting when merely a newly minted KGB man in Copenhagen, was approached by MI6 through Denmark's own security service. From there an astounding relationship blossoms, as Comrade Oleg rises to the rank of Colonel, and head of the KGB in London.Read this book if you love spy stories; read this book if you love finding out about little-known facets of international relations and Cold War history; read this book if you've ever wondered about what kind of character, and will power could propel a person through two decades of lying to everyone around him, colleagues and loved ones included, in order to survive and do what he thought of as the only moral choice available to him.Read. This. Book!
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Ben Macintyre is John le Carré's literary heir. But his stories are real. His newest, and best, book perfectly captures the tedium of most spy work alleviated only the the heart-thumping terror of when things go wrong. And spies being human, things always go wrong in the most mundane of ways.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:Ben Macintyre's thrilling new book tells the story of a KGB double agent and plunges us into the Cold War's underworld of espionage, duplicity and intrigue. Today, disaffection sets in for one of the KGB's newest recruits. Tim McInnerny readsBen Macintyre's thrilling new history tells the breath taking story of a KGB double agent operating at the height of the Cold War. Passing countless secrets to his British spymasters at M16 over the course of a decade he u From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:Ben Macintyre's thrilling new book tells the story of a KGB double agent and plunges us into the Cold War's underworld of espionage, duplicity and intrigue. Today, disaffection sets in for one of the KGB's newest recruits. Tim McInnerny readsBen Macintyre's thrilling new history tells the breath taking story of a KGB double agent operating at the height of the Cold War. Passing countless secrets to his British spymasters at M16 over the course of a decade he undermined the Soviet Union's intelligence gathering machine from deep within. Eventually, he was betrayed and what followed was a sequence of events involving ingenuity, duplicity, and fearlessness.Abridged by Richard HamiltonProduced by Elizabeth Allard.https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bk...
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  • Harry Buckle
    January 1, 1970
    Ben Macintyre is in the top ten of my all time favourite authors...although possibly that should say 'favourite reporters'. Because report is what he does...and he does it really well. Taking both well known and 'new to me' episodes and events of the past 100 years and retelling/reporting them in riveting style. Crimes, wars, politics, people, espionage- I just checked out his list of titles and I would or have, given all of them well deserved five star reviews. All well deserved for their metic Ben Macintyre is in the top ten of my all time favourite authors...although possibly that should say 'favourite reporters'. Because report is what he does...and he does it really well. Taking both well known and 'new to me' episodes and events of the past 100 years and retelling/reporting them in riveting style. Crimes, wars, politics, people, espionage- I just checked out his list of titles and I would or have, given all of them well deserved five star reviews. All well deserved for their meticulous attention to detail, and that detail, reported in really 'can't put it down style' but without the brash repetitive nonsense of today's modern TV documentaries, where the 'backstory/reasons we are here' get repeated each ten minutes- just in case we do have the attention span of the gnats the producers have assumed to their viewers. As it happens I didn't like this book- because it presented nothing new about what is, as it claims, reasonably justifiably 'The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War.' The story has been well told before - in great detail- particularly well by Gordon Corera. So for me Bens latest work is a real disappointment - the first in his folio-but it's more my fault, than his...as I have read so much on this matter already, researching other aspects of the event as an author myself. Hence me giving, a well deserved five star review to a book that disappointed...I really do recommend it and would urge you to also check out his other work...I eagerly await his next offering. I read the kindle version. The hard back cover design shown here is appalling...and is I suspect of the US edition...the European one (or possibly the softback) is way better. The publishers should be ashamed-I assume nepotism, or an amateur playing at the design game-and their meddling will cost him sales.
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  • Henri
    January 1, 1970
    Truly spectacular!I never have read a single Ben Macintyre work but will surely aqcuire a few and get to them promptly. This was a staggeringly beautiful and prosaic page-turner. Non-Fiction that reads like your ordinary spy thriller but is indeed based on fact. I could not put it down for two days straight and sat engrossed till late at night both times. Highly recommended to anyone that likes a bit of history non-fiction but does not necessarily want to plunge into a heavily academic work - th Truly spectacular!I never have read a single Ben Macintyre work but will surely aqcuire a few and get to them promptly. This was a staggeringly beautiful and prosaic page-turner. Non-Fiction that reads like your ordinary spy thriller but is indeed based on fact. I could not put it down for two days straight and sat engrossed till late at night both times. Highly recommended to anyone that likes a bit of history non-fiction but does not necessarily want to plunge into a heavily academic work - this reads easily but is just as exctiting as any fiction work i have read this year. In fact this jumps all the way into the top 3 books i have read this year so far and the others i am still to read have a lot to show for themselves if they are to take the top spot away from this book. Well done to Ben Macintyre and i am looking forward to reading his other work.
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  • Jordan Finch
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first nonfiction spy account I've read, and boy, is any other gonna have a hard time living up to this one!The Spy and the Traitor is the fascinating, heart-pounding, and complex story of Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB agent who traded his allegiance to MI6. Working as a double-agent, Gordievksy is able to help reveal a number of other KGB spies as well as provide insights on topics from the Cold War and nuclear arms to the relationship between Britain and the Soviet Union. However, Gordie This is the first nonfiction spy account I've read, and boy, is any other gonna have a hard time living up to this one!The Spy and the Traitor is the fascinating, heart-pounding, and complex story of Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB agent who traded his allegiance to MI6. Working as a double-agent, Gordievksy is able to help reveal a number of other KGB spies as well as provide insights on topics from the Cold War and nuclear arms to the relationship between Britain and the Soviet Union. However, Gordievksy is constantly at risk of being caught, and the chronic tension really heightens the sense of danger and daring throughout the book.I appreciate that Macintyre discusses the different motives for why spies may switch sides and just how Gordievsky fit into that mold. Most spies flip for money or power or acknowledgement; Gordievsky betrayed the KGB because he discovered the true atrocities his country had committed and continued to inflict upon his fellow countrymen. The bleak, oppressive laws of Soviet Russia were such a contrast to the diverse and intelligent culture Gordievsky encountered outside his country, and combined with Russia's military movement against Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring, Gordievsky became disenchanted with his nation's tactics and their beliefs. Thus it was Gordievsky's belief that the world could be a better and safer place if democracy ruled that pushed him to change sides, and although he still betrayed his country, it was for a truly good cause.While the entire narrative is secretive and audacious enough to keep you turning pages, the most exciting part of the story is easily Gordievsky's escape from the Soviet Union. There were so many things that had to go just right for MI6's escape plan to work, and none of them worked out, yet the boldness and quick-thinking of the British agents ensured that Gordievsky escaped safely and was able to continue to aid MI6. It's an ending sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, even knowing the outcome. It reads like a bestselling spy novel except that it actually happened, and you'll find yourself rooting Gordievsky and MI6 until his feet touch British soil.The Spy and the Traitor is both an educational and highly entertaining read about Soviet politics and intelligence during the Cold War, and it shows just how far people are willing to go to fight for their beliefs.*Thanks to Penguin's First to Read for the advance copy of this book.*
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and that is certainly the case of Oleg Gordievsky, KGB double agent who’s valuable intel helped shape the Cold War. His diplomatic postings would eventually lead him to the highest office in the KGB’s London station, and all the while he provided MI6 with a cache of information that impacted politics on a global scale. Whether it was coaching Thatcher for her meeting with Gorbachev, identifying KGB agents within the UK, or providing insight into the Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and that is certainly the case of Oleg Gordievsky, KGB double agent who’s valuable intel helped shape the Cold War. His diplomatic postings would eventually lead him to the highest office in the KGB’s London station, and all the while he provided MI6 with a cache of information that impacted politics on a global scale. Whether it was coaching Thatcher for her meeting with Gorbachev, identifying KGB agents within the UK, or providing insight into the inner-workings of the Kremlin, Gordievsky was the most important asset in the British intelligence network. “He risked his life to betray his country, and made the world a little safer.” The constant threat of exposure, leading a double life and withholding the truth from his family, and preparing for defection was a constant strain but the knowledge that he was helping eradicate communism was a greater motivator than fear for his own safety. And don’t even get me started on his harrowing escape – the detail of his extradition is the thrilling cherry on top of an already exhilarating narrative. I’ve been wanting to read more about the Cold War, and this was a perfect introduction to the world of KGB operatives, international spy-craft, and the dangerous politics of the era. I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.
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  • BOOKLOVER10
    January 1, 1970
    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 intelli 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.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book immensely. Having devoured pretty much everything that's been written about the Cambridge Spies, Ames and Aldrich, I was overjoyed to read this account of Britain's best spy within the KGB during the 70s and 80s. The book was written with the collaboration of its subject, and of many of the people in MI6 who had been involved, and so it offers an unusually well-rounded and complete view of the story. I was especially interested in the interlinking of so many different threads I enjoyed this book immensely. Having devoured pretty much everything that's been written about the Cambridge Spies, Ames and Aldrich, I was overjoyed to read this account of Britain's best spy within the KGB during the 70s and 80s. The book was written with the collaboration of its subject, and of many of the people in MI6 who had been involved, and so it offers an unusually well-rounded and complete view of the story. I was especially interested in the interlinking of so many different threads : the information provided by Oleg informed Margaret Thatcher's approach to Russia, especially to the rising star Gorbachev, and clarified for the Western powers just how paranoid the KGB really was. The story of Aldrich Ames, the CIA traitor who exposed Oleg and caused his recall to Moskow, was not the focus of the book, but it was told in enough detail to be able to connect the dots.One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book for me was the spycraft : for years, officials of the British embassy would show up at very regular intervals, on the agreed-upon spot at the agreed-upon time, carrying the agreed-upon recognition signal (a Harrods shopping bag). I tried to imagine successive waves of British embassy personnel doing this week after week, always for nothing... until one day, they did spot the man carrying a Safeway shopping bag and wearing a grey cap. And that signal set in motion an audacious exfiltration plan, right under the nose of the very suspicious KGB. As far as I know, this was the first and only time that a suspected spy had been smuggled out of Moskow, and this is fingernail-chewing stuff. It can only be a matter of time before a movie is made of this story. Vigo Mortenssen as Oleg, perhaps?
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    This was an absolutely astonishing story and such a well-written book! I am a long-time fan of non-fiction, particularly because so much truth is, quite often, stranger (and more entertaining) than fiction... This is a marvelous example of that. What Gordievsky went through is nearly unbelievable in scale and scope. That he did so for ZERO monetary gain is even more so. When he is contrasted with Aldrich Ames (who doesn't feature in the story until it is well along the way) who did what he did E This was an absolutely astonishing story and such a well-written book! I am a long-time fan of non-fiction, particularly because so much truth is, quite often, stranger (and more entertaining) than fiction... This is a marvelous example of that. What Gordievsky went through is nearly unbelievable in scale and scope. That he did so for ZERO monetary gain is even more so. When he is contrasted with Aldrich Ames (who doesn't feature in the story until it is well along the way) who did what he did EXCLUSIVELY for money, the tale takes on an even more surreal slant - in the best possible way. I was flipping pages frantically near the end, waiting to see Gordievsky's fate (and that of his family) would be. While I was familiar with Ames's tale, Gordievsky's was new to me and all the more fascinating for it.The research was meticulous and the writing was excellent. There is a LOT of detail here and it takes a while to work through it all, but throughout the book everything was so well managed that it never felt over-drawn, over-detailed, or overly-long. The story-telling was well paced and the characters jumped off the pages as a result of the extraordinary way they were presented. This was a marvelous and amazing story told by a master, and Macintyre is definitely on my "to watch" list now!!Thanks to Penguin First to Read for my review copy.
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  • Bill Sleeman
    January 1, 1970
    Ben Macintyre is one of the best writers of non-fiction spy and espionage work period! This work tracks the career of Oleg Gordievsky and reads like fiction: fast, engaging and imaginative – that it is fact makes it even more amazing. I have read two of Macintyre’s other works – “Operation Mincement” and “Agent Zigzag” and this work “The Spy and the Traitor” is similar in many ways in that Macintyre’s pro-west and pro-Britain sympathies are right out there for all to see. As a storyteller there Ben Macintyre is one of the best writers of non-fiction spy and espionage work period! This work tracks the career of Oleg Gordievsky and reads like fiction: fast, engaging and imaginative – that it is fact makes it even more amazing. I have read two of Macintyre’s other works – “Operation Mincement” and “Agent Zigzag” and this work “The Spy and the Traitor” is similar in many ways in that Macintyre’s pro-west and pro-Britain sympathies are right out there for all to see. As a storyteller there is never any confusion as to how Macintyre views the world and the challenges facing Europe and the United States. It is good that I agree with him but his viewpoint could be problematic for those who subscribe to the idea that Russia can through trade and/or sanctions be brought around to part of the western liberal community, as the “Spy and the Traitor” suggests, that simply isn’t going to happen. This is a very well done work and likely to be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of true crime and spy craft.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Another great look at cold war spies from Macintyre. I've previously read his book on Philby, and came back for more. Macintyre tries to examine the character and motivations of everyone who comes up in these pages, and that is helpful, because it's easy to get the feeling that the world is full of spies and double agents, or at least it was i the 1980s, and everyone's loyalty is questionable. This is, by Macintyre's estimation, the flip side of the Philby story: a KGB agent who decided early in Another great look at cold war spies from Macintyre. I've previously read his book on Philby, and came back for more. Macintyre tries to examine the character and motivations of everyone who comes up in these pages, and that is helpful, because it's easy to get the feeling that the world is full of spies and double agents, or at least it was i the 1980s, and everyone's loyalty is questionable. This is, by Macintyre's estimation, the flip side of the Philby story: a KGB agent who decided early in his career that he believed in democracy more than in the USSR, and then spied as a double agent for MI6 for a decade, risking his life for a philosophical commitment. A greater fraction of the book is taken up by Gordievsky's actual escape from the Soviet Union, step by step, breath by caught breath, than I anticipated, but it is in awfully good story. This is an entertaining yet educational take on intelligence before the USSR broke up, and one of the most influential players in that world. I got a copy to review from First to Read.
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this book with high expectations, I'd read other books by Macintyre, and the Gordievsky affair is one of the most important and frankly exiting episodes of the later cold war. It completely lived up to my expectations and I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could. For anybody with an interest in espionage history or the cold war, it's a must read.One thing I'd say is that perhaps to a non-British reader the Mi5 and 6 officers come across as being a bit like characters from a LeCarre nove I bought this book with high expectations, I'd read other books by Macintyre, and the Gordievsky affair is one of the most important and frankly exiting episodes of the later cold war. It completely lived up to my expectations and I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could. For anybody with an interest in espionage history or the cold war, it's a must read.One thing I'd say is that perhaps to a non-British reader the Mi5 and 6 officers come across as being a bit like characters from a LeCarre novel, perhaps even the Alec Guiness 'Tinker Tailor...' - but trust me, the UK is full of people like this :-) Only in the UK could news of one of the most challenging operations every carried by the security service having started be conveyed to the person responsible with a phone call to their house from the office saying 'it would be useful if you were to pop in...'
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  • Jonny
    January 1, 1970
    As a spy story, this is more compelling and tightly written than any fictional work within the genre that I’ve read. And as a history it’s very well researched (albeit with obvious cooperation from the U.K. and understandable silence from Russia...) and leaves you wondering how Gordievsky could have been able to live his double life for so many years, and have the presence of mind to successfully escape from Russia when he ultimately defected. Macintyre puts the whole story in its wider context As a spy story, this is more compelling and tightly written than any fictional work within the genre that I’ve read. And as a history it’s very well researched (albeit with obvious cooperation from the U.K. and understandable silence from Russia...) and leaves you wondering how Gordievsky could have been able to live his double life for so many years, and have the presence of mind to successfully escape from Russia when he ultimately defected. Macintyre puts the whole story in its wider context (and does a very good job at bringing home the value of the intelligence delivered by Gordievsky) without sacrificing how remarkable the narrative is.
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  • Terri
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy of of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is the story of Oleg Gordievsky. He lived in Russia and worked for the KGB. He became disillusioned with communism and decided that he would become a spy for Britain. This is a bit dry and overly filled with details. This book and the story that it tells is however fascinating. Oleg helped in a lot of Cold War issues to help to deescalate the situation so that things didn’t blow up and the world didn’t end I received an advanced copy of of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is the story of Oleg Gordievsky. He lived in Russia and worked for the KGB. He became disillusioned with communism and decided that he would become a spy for Britain. This is a bit dry and overly filled with details. This book and the story that it tells is however fascinating. Oleg helped in a lot of Cold War issues to help to deescalate the situation so that things didn’t blow up and the world didn’t end up in a nuclear war, sometimes literally. This was a good book, definitely one I enjoyed.
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  • Taryn Braband
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful book. Well written and flawlessly researched. Ben MacIntyre has outdone himself. I enjoyed every minute of this book. Immensely compelling true story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent for Russia who became a double-agent for the English (MI6) during the Cold War because of his growing conviction that the USSR was corrupt, stifiling and oppressive. An exciting story that becomes more and more climactic as it continues. Hard to put down and highly recommended. I can't say enough positive t Wonderful book. Well written and flawlessly researched. Ben MacIntyre has outdone himself. I enjoyed every minute of this book. Immensely compelling true story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent for Russia who became a double-agent for the English (MI6) during the Cold War because of his growing conviction that the USSR was corrupt, stifiling and oppressive. An exciting story that becomes more and more climactic as it continues. Hard to put down and highly recommended. I can't say enough positive things about this book. You'll be glad you read it.
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  • Will
    January 1, 1970
    Ben Macintyre always comes thru with a great non-fiction read of espionage. This book is story of disillusioned KGB officer assigned to UK who provided information to British Goverment during end of the Cold War. Also story of plot to escape from Moscow after recall on suspicion of trading Soviet info with UK. You won’t be disappointed even if this not your spy stories are not your genre of choice
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  • Jean Kolinofsky
    January 1, 1970
    As a thriller fan I have read a number of novels involving spies and the Cold War. When Ben MacIntyre’s book became available for review, I was fascinated by the non-fiction story of Oleg Gordievsky. Once I started to read this book it was hard to put down. As Russia’s top man in London, he was actually working for MI6, providing a tale that was better than most fiction thrillers that I have read. I would like to thank First to Read for providing this book for my review.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Oleg Gordievsky, double agent for Russia and England via Denmark, came from a family full of agents and spies from the KGB. Oleg attended spy training school in northern Russia, where he swore he would always defend the secrets of Russia. But in the years following, he did not honor his allegiance. The Spy and The Traitor is an excellent account of his life on both sides of the fence, complete with many details on the spying lifestyle.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible spy story that reads like a spy thriller!!!! Set in the Cold War era, Oleg Gordievsky was a spy for the KGB who worked at the KGB's London station, But was secretly working for MI6, the British intelligence service. In the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Gordievsky provided vital information that exposed and foiled Soviet plans, and identified spies in the West, and avoided catastrophic nuclear escalation.
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  • Stephanie Hall
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing book! I've only read one other Ben Macintyre book and so I knew I had to get my hands on this. I've never found myself reading nonfiction and sitting on the edge of my seat, reading late into the night, just to find out what happens next, until I read this book. Macintyre is a master at telling a true story in a way that absolutely grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go until the last page. Would highly recommend!!
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    simply one if the best tales of espionage ever written, fiction or non-fiction. McIntire writes non-fiction espionage as well as LeCarre writes fiction. this is a masterpiece of a page turner. if you read this book, set aside your evening whe you get to part III. you won't put the book down until you have finished it.
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  • Brian Kaddour
    January 1, 1970
    So important in this day in age to learn the lessons on the failures of tyranny and conversely of the failures or democracy. Presented in a turn paging nail-biting epic of a true story too. It was awesome and the free world owes Gordievsky thanks! So to that affect as an American, Thanks! Also sorry about our greedy jerk Aldrich Ames!
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  • Peter L
    January 1, 1970
    Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold WarAfter a slow start ‘Spy & Traitor’ lives up to its billing. At first I was put off because of all those Russian names, especially the full name for Gord... Once passed that difficulty the remarksble story is one of the best true spy stories I’ve read. Soooo when will they make a movie of this spy vs spy true story ?
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  • Charles Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    Compelling, gripping, fascinating. My only reason for not giving the book a five star rating is that MacIntyre is only, at best, a rather workmanlike writer. He’s no LeCarre.
  • Daniel Gusev
    January 1, 1970
    In a world of shades, sleuths are indeed king-makers. Macintyre expands not just on the external projection of spies actions, but their internal motivation and personal cost.
  • Jennie
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting book with insight into the Cold War, relationships within the KGB and MI6, as well as the life of a KGB spy
  • Steve Earle
    January 1, 1970
    Great story, extremely well written. Couldn’t put it down.
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