An Impeccable Spy
The thrilling true story of Richard Sorge - the man John le Carré called 'the spy to end spies', and whose actions turned the tide of the Second World WarRichard Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, Sorge became a fanatical communist - and the Soviet Union's most formidable spy.Like many great spies, Sorge was an effortless seducer, combining charm with ruthless manipulation. He did not have to go undercover to find out closely guarded state secrets - his victims willingly shared them. As a foreign correspondent, he infiltrated and influenced the highest echelons of German, Chinese and Japanese society in the years leading up to and including the Second World War. His intelligence regarding Operation Barbarossa and Japanese intentions not to invade Siberia in 1941 proved pivotal to the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow, which in turn determined the outcome of the war.Never before has Sorge's story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese. Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives - along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge - to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as 'the most formidable spy in history'.

An Impeccable Spy Details

TitleAn Impeccable Spy
Author
ReleaseDec 10th, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN-139781408857786
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Spy Thriller, Espionage, Cultural, Russia, Biography Memoir, Russian History, Soviet Union, War, World War II, European History, Literature, 20th Century

An Impeccable Spy Review

  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    An absorbing, easy read packed with previously unknown information. Sorge (pronounced Zorgae, as the author told a recent talk) was a fanatical Communist, a hard drinking, womaniser who took crazy risks with the network that he had built up.Matthews' research has found the records from the GRU files in Podolsk that show that Sorge was largely untrusted by his Moscow handlers, due to his connection with many purged Soviet officials and the inability of his service chiefs to tell Stalin anything An absorbing, easy read packed with previously unknown information. Sorge (pronounced Zorgae, as the author told a recent talk) was a fanatical Communist, a hard drinking, womaniser who took crazy risks with the network that he had built up.Matthews' research has found the records from the GRU files in Podolsk that show that Sorge was largely untrusted by his Moscow handlers, due to his connection with many purged Soviet officials and the inability of his service chiefs to tell Stalin anything other than reports affirming Stalin's own preconceived ideas. The narrative also explains that, despite Sorge's skill in cultivating sources, he was high-handed with those in his own network.
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  • Oliver
    January 1, 1970
    The first few hundred pages I found were hard reading but eventually once I got my head around the multiple names and plans I enjoyed this book. It wasn't as 'unputdownable' as a Ben Macintyre book but actually I have probably learnt quite a bit more from this one. I always wondered how Japan fitted into the WW2 and whilst I'm still not 100%, I am someway to understanding. One of the most confusing things about this time I think are all the non-aggression pacts being signed, it's hard to The first few hundred pages I found were hard reading but eventually once I got my head around the multiple names and plans I enjoyed this book. It wasn't as 'unputdownable' as a Ben Macintyre book but actually I have probably learnt quite a bit more from this one. I always wondered how Japan fitted into the WW2 and whilst I'm still not 100%, I am someway to understanding. One of the most confusing things about this time I think are all the non-aggression pacts being signed, it's hard to understand who had what agreements with who.
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  • David Wasley
    January 1, 1970
    How a charming, ruthless risk taker hoodwinked the intelligence services of Germany, China and Japan and obtained stupendous confidential information. This book is packed with names and details. I didn't find it an easy read but am glad I perservered.
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  • Jane Griffiths
    January 1, 1970
    Richard Sorge, the flawed masterI suppose all spies are flawed masters. Richard Sorge, a German born in Baku, and a spy for Moscow for years in China and then Japan, was one of the true masters. He lasted seven years in Tokyo, and it was not his weakness but that of a confrère that betrayed him. In the end it seems Moscow simply forgot about him. Before, of course, hagiographising him some years later. Sorge, with his drinking and womanising, hid in plain sight. That's the way to do it. A Richard Sorge, the flawed masterI suppose all spies are flawed masters. Richard Sorge, a German born in Baku, and a spy for Moscow for years in China and then Japan, was one of the true masters. He lasted seven years in Tokyo, and it was not his weakness but that of a confrère that betrayed him. In the end it seems Moscow simply forgot about him. Before, of course, hagiographising him some years later. Sorge, with his drinking and womanising, hid in plain sight. That's the way to do it. A masterly portrait. Read this.
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  • Zack
    January 1, 1970
    A bit clunky in parts, and a slightly tightened up narrative or extra run through from an editor could have taken this from good to great.That said, damn. What a compelling life Richard Sorge led. That he could have offered so much of value, yet been derided, ignored, and forgotten is a bit sobering. If one of the best spies ever was wasted in so many ways, it really takes away from the "glamor" of the lifestyle.
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  • Peter Grimbeek
    January 1, 1970
    It is a wonder that Richard Sorge survived working as a Soviet spy, both in Germany and Japan, as long as he did. The book makes the case that one would have to be mad in the way that he was to have done so.
  • Martin Ceglinski
    January 1, 1970
    A very enjoyable book which showed the path of Sorges rise to the heights of classical spycraft. Easy to read and difficult to put down. I got through this book in a few sittings and leave this book with a vision of not only Richard, but of his close circle as well.
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  • Ethan Everhart
    January 1, 1970
    Strongest when it lets Sorge and the other characters speak for themselves, and falls into the trap of a lot of history of the time period of repeating the common anti-USSR narratives of the start of the war, but overall a very fascinating and well-sourced biography of a fascinating person.
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  • Ash Lucas
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best spy biographies I have ever read, outstanding.
  • Ian Lambert
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI've wanted to know more about this character since I was quite young. Accurate information was in short supply in those days for reasons which are apparent in this book. Thanks Owen!
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