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

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Oct 18, 2020

Now here’s a book they should make a movie about. Gripping story that really gives you an understanding of what goes on in the Soviet Union. It’s every man for himself. Lies, deception, and it doesn’t matter who gets trampled in the quest to get ahead. Terrible way to live. Oleg is a hero in my book.

Sep 22, 2020

In the brief wrap up of the last chapter, it would have been good to know whether Oleg has any contact with his adult daughters, who were educated in England and still live there. A search online reveals that he has a female companion now and is not living alone. Leila divides her time between Russia and England. This book is currently being reviewed in British newspapers. Searches for Viscount Roy Ascot draw blanks, so this name also is likely an alias. It reads as a play-on-words for the famous horse race, Royal Ascot. Perhaps the real aristocrat in MI6 owned horses and bred them. Roy is not a name generally used among aristocrats.

🕵️‍♀️ An excellent book, with great storytelling. One has to wonder, though, how much difference the sideshow of spies and intelligence really makes in the final analysis. Remember, when the USSR collapsed, the CIA had just issued a report predicting that it would just keep getting bigger and badder for the foreseeable future. Taken by surprise, they had to watch it on CNN with the rest of us.

May 03, 2020

Excellent book - puts many fiction writers to shame. An amazing story (true) well written.

Mar 15, 2020

I read a lot of spy novels and this was one of the best. Except it's nonfiction.

Feb 22, 2020


Jan 27, 2020

brilliant. Can't put it down. Finished in 3 days.

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.

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