The Spy and the Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor

The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

Book - 2018
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"Oleg Gordievsky was a spy like no other. The product of a KGB family and the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Russian eventually saw the lies and terror of the regime for what they were, a realization that turned him irretrievably toward the West. His KGB career took flight in Copenhagen in 1966 and eventually brought him to the highest post in the KGB's London station--but throughout that time he was secretly working for MI6, the British intelligence service. Gordievsky was a spy of tremendous consequence. As the Cold War heated up in the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, he provided critical information that foiled Soviet plots, exposed spies in the West, and ultimately avoided catastrophic nuclear escalation between the great powers. When Thatcher declared in 1984 that Mikhail Gorbachev was "a man one could do business with," it was largely because of information provided by Gordievsky. No Western country had ever run a spy so high up in Russian intelligence, which is why M16 fiercely guarded Gordievsky's identity, even from the CIA. But the American spy agency was bent on discovering the British source, unaware that their head of counterintelligence--Aldrich Ames--was secretly spying for the Soviets. A riveting story of intrigue set in the Cold War's twilight, [this book] sounds frightening echoes of today, when Russian spies are once again front-page headlines and superpower conflict dominates the globe. Writing with deep access to all of the key players in a drama that has never before been fully revealed, Ben Macintyre has produced a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a thrilling tale of impossibly high stakes and one man's brave gamble on his belief in democracy and freedom."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York :, Crown,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101904190
Branch Call Number: 327.1273 G661m 2018
Characteristics: viii, 358 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Outstanding narrative nonfiction. This story kept me turning pages well into the night. Real heroism (Oleg Gordievsky) and real villainy (Aldrich Ames) in a life-or-death game of espionage. - Christy

From the critics

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Nov 26, 2019

A most remarkable story of a spy's life. Written by the UK's Time columnist and Associated Editor, the author had personal interviews with his subject and the M16 people who planned and helped Oleg's tension filled escape from Russia. Includes notes, photos, and bibliography.

Nov 05, 2019

Ben Macintyre - The spy and the traitor - The greatest espionage story ofthe cold war

The greatest espionage story I have read so far, which give me insight in many historical events like Margaret Thatcher vs Michael Foot , Ronald Reagan's policy against USSR , Gorbachev etc

Sep 25, 2019

This book was an incredible read. It was like an action movie written in a book. It built suspense and keeps the reader guessing about what the KGB was going to do to Gordievsky. The most incredible part is that is was based on a true story, which makes the suspenseful parts even more so since the same events happened in reality, It makes you think about the dangers of being a spy and how difficult it is to make decisions about your family when your own career or life is on the line. I really liked Gordievsky, as he did not let his loyalty to his organization and his country overpower his will as a human, as he began spying for MI6 after watching the brutal suppression of the hungarian uprising against the communist government. I think that Gordievsky did what was right in the name of humanity, and risked his own life to help the west defeat the communist regime he hated. I think that spies

I rated this book a 10/10 because of it’s incredible story and writing. I think this is a very informing read on what a spy’s life is like that is not portrayed in movies. I learned a lot from this book and I think anyone else who reads this would too. I would recommend this book to most people to read.

Sep 23, 2019

Excellent read from start to finish!

Sep 21, 2019

If the spy genre is your thing you will love this. The most terrifying part of this book is when in 1983 the Soviet leadership were convinced that a joint NATO war game was preparation for an imminent first strike and invasion of the Soviet Union. As a result they went into the highest level of alert. The world was on the brink akin to the Russia/U.S. Cuban missile crisis. Who knew about this? How many more events like this have happened that the world knows nothing about? Oleg Gordievsky was central in diffusing this world ending situation.
Gordievskys' escape will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Aug 15, 2019

What an amazing book...a true story about the most famous spy of the Cold War--Oleg Gordievsky. If you didn’t know it was true you could be excused for thinking it was a fictional spy novel. The story is not new—Gordievsky has actually written two of his own books about working as a KGB officer in the 70s and 80s, while secretly spying for Britain’s MI6. But this book has so much depth of research into all sides of the spy game—including the American traitor who almost got Gordievsky killed in 1985—that Macintyre makes you feel as if you’re witnessing every event from just a few metres away.
Gordievsky’s bravery and intelligence is astounding, as is the world he was part of—the world of spies on both sides of the Iron Curtain. 330 pages that I just flew through. Highly recommended reading.

Aug 06, 2019

If Netflix doesn't pick this up, they're fools. Amazing (true) story.

Jul 06, 2019

A phenomenal, TRUE story of an incredible part of the Cold War history. I finished this book in two days - couldn't put it down. Given the not so distant poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, the world of spy craft, and totalitarianism vs. the democratic West continues unabated. I think we can all be thankful for men like Gordievsky who risk everything for a greater good.

Jun 13, 2019

This book is terrific - after the background is established it is truly a page turner.

Apr 25, 2019

Super! Fascinating, nonfiction story of a true hero. Exciting and hard to put down. I loved this book.

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