The Spy and the Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor

The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

Book - 2018
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans -era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

"The best true spy story I have ever read."--JOHN LE CARRÉ

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist * Shortlisted for the Bailie Giffords Prize in Nonfiction

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.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishing Group, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781101904190
Branch Call Number: 327.1273 GORDIEVSKY
Characteristics: viii, 358 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Veteran nonfiction writer Macintyre... tells the story of Oleg Gordievsky (b. 1938), a spy for the Soviet Union beginning in the 1960s, later becoming the chief spy in the KGB's London office. Over time, Gordievsky developed leanings toward the West and spied for England's MI6 secret service. --L... Read More »

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Feb 06, 2021

This is a Cold War espionage story of Oleg Gordievsky. He is a Russian KGB spy but when he gets deployed to Denmark, after getting his first taste of democracy, he realizes just how much Russia suppresses his people which leads him to secretly contact the British MI6. Thus begins the breathtaking and extremely risky story of loyalty, betrayal and suspense. Gordievsky is a spy of the likes of Kim Philby and with his intelligence has greatly helped Britain. This story is amazing and worth reading, it gives you so much insight on the amount of risk and adventure involved in any spy story and the way Ben Macintire narrates the story makes you want to know what happens next constantly. This story does not require you to know a lot of cold war history. This was the first Macintire book I read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more. There are absolutely no cons when reading this book, so seriously, what are you waiting for?

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

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