The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

All our books are stored and shipped by Amazon, using Amazon Prime Free shipping when available! Thank you for shopping with KC Chic Books!
See more
Sold by KC Chic Books and fulfilled by Amazon.
[{"displayPrice":"$14.29","priceAmount":14.29,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"14","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"29","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"XG7K4NFkjh9fSxMzT1iXqLpeXYs8VIqx3AmOnJgOdOLgpYFBSzWult7tLsm%2BR8Uc9BhqdfHN2TU4kXjc%2F81tX0Pc7I7JV34nljHyXZTNQTsQzExy7gLJlZ2M3yXGZzwS3I172WWn8NXAwUe1hHZWoA%3D%3D","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"NEW"},{"displayPrice":"$12.29","priceAmount":12.29,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"12","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"29","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"wCvPgTa37gRBOjGhHvFvylq3aP1%2Bhh2%2BwLhta4wWow2YW7QbAdiwP%2F9VDePfd%2FoQwWKnbWhaC%2FT6G6n5dEBqu%2BNk2DzzVgJNCNf2opL7hGWyCnjP1idVOGNAAbNa1XTDsIdPDRUNbb%2BsyocQpIcQWgtyf8A7SuODFW1wfp%2FVZtCZjOgwogZmg7UfUDURaS2o","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"USED"}]
$$14.29 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Price
Subtotal
$$14.29
Subtotal
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
ADD TO LIST
Available at a lower price from other sellers that may not offer free Prime shipping.
SELL ON AMAZON
Share this product with friends
Text Message
WhatsApp
Copy
press and hold to copy
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Join or create book clubs
Choose books together
Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. Explore Amazon Book Clubs
Popular Highlights in this book
What are popular highlights?

Highlights

Kindle readers can highlight text to save their favorite concepts, topics, and passages to their Kindle app or device. The popular highlights below are some of the most common ones Kindle readers have saved.

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Frequently bought together

+
+
Choose items to buy together.
Buy all three: $43.77
$14.29
$13.29
$16.19
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Book details

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

From the Publisher




Agent Sonya Operation Mincemeat Agent Zigzag Rogue Heroes Double Cross A Spy Among Friends
Uncovers the true story behind the Cold War’s most intrepid female spy Chronicles the extraordinary story of what happened after British officials planted a dead body behind enemy lines during WWII Fall into this gripping tale of loyalty, love, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal, based on recently declassified World War II files The incredible untold story of World War II’s greatest secret fighting force—Britain’s Special Air Force The untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it The unbelievable true story of Kim Philby, the Cold War’s most infamous spy

Description

Product Description

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.

Review

“Every bit as exciting as my favorite spy novels.” —Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“Readers seeking a page-turning spy story, look no further. The author of A Spy Among Friends and Agent Zigzag, among others, does it again, this time delivering a Cold War espionage story for the ages… another can’t miss account of intrigue and intelligence.”  Boston Globe
 
“The subtitle of Macintyre’s latest real-life spy thriller calls it ‘The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War.’ Like pretty much everything in this fine book, the description is accurate… Macintyre is fastidious about tradecraft details… [he] has become the preeminent popular chronicler of British intelligence history because he understands the essence of the business.”  —Washington Post

The Spy and the Traitor [is] a fast-paced and fascinating biography of Russian-spy-turned-British-asset Oleg Gordievsky… It’s nonfiction, but it reads like the best of thrillers… The toll spying takes on Gordievsky’s personal life is enthralling, and the details of how deep the effects of one KGB agent’s deception can go are, in these days of Russian election meddling, quite frightening.”  San Francisco Chronicle

“Who was the most important spy of the Cold War era? Ben Macintyre convincingly nominates Oleg Gordievsky… Readers should rejoice in a very readable book by a skilled story-teller. Although an intelligence outsider, Mr. Macintyre enjoys the trust of MI6… Mr. Macintyre’s account of how the officer known as Bromhead recruited Mr. Gordievsky as a spy is a textbook study of intelligence reality; indeed, these pages alone are worth the price of the book… In terms of suspense, the flight through Russia is of thriller-quality.” Washington Times

“Oleg Gordievsky was the most significant British agent of the cold war… The result is a dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage.”  The Guardian
 
“Even a reader not enamored of spy stories will have trouble putting this one down… [The story] unfolds with a pace and drama that recall the novels of John le Carré.”  Foreign Affairs 

“[A] swift-moving tale of true espionage in the most desperate years of the Cold War... The closing pages of Macintyre’s fluent yarn find Gordievsky attempting to escape captivity and flee to the West in a scenario worthy of John le Carré... Oddly timely, given the return of Russian spying to the front pages, and a first-rate study of the mechanics and psychology of espionage.”  Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“[A] captivating espionage tale... In a feat of real authorial dexterity, Macintyre accurately portrays the long-game banality of spycraft—the lead time and persistence in planning—with such clarity and propulsive verve that the book often feels like a thriller. The book has a startling relevancy to the news of the day... Macintyre has produced a timely and insightful page-turner.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Pick up any current true-crime spy book and you’ll probably see a version of this phrase on the cover: ‘The Greatest Spy Story Ever Told.’ Most of them don’t live up to the billing, but the latest by Ben Macintyre comes close…What makes this read propulsive is the way Macintyre tells the story almost as a character-driven novel… Macintyre’s way with details, as when he explains exactly how the KGB bugged apartments, or when he delves into KGB training, is utterly absorbing. The action is punctuated with plenty of heart-stopping near-discoveries, betrayals, and escapes. Fascinating, especially now.”  Booklist (starred review)
 
“Fans of narrative nonfiction, the Cold War, spy stories, foreign relations among the United States, England, and Russia, and Macintyre’s previous works will greatly enjoy this incredible true account.”  Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for  The Times of London and the bestselling author of  A Spy Among FriendsDouble CrossOperation MincemeatAgent Zigzag, and  Rogue Heroes, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

The KGB

Oleg Gordievsky was born into the KGB: shaped by it, loved by it, twisted, damaged, and very nearly destroyed by it. The Soviet spy service was in his heart and in his blood. His father worked for the intelligence service all his life, and wore his KGB uniform every day, including weekends. The Gordievskys lived amid the spy fraternity in a designated apartment block, ate special food reserved for officers, and spent their free time socializing with other spy families. Gordievsky was a child of the KGB.

The KGB—the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, or committee of state security—was the most complex and far-reaching intelligence agency ever created. The direct successor of Stalin’s spy network, it combined the roles of foreign- and domestic-intelligence gathering, internal security enforcement, and state police. Oppressive, mysterious, and ubiquitous, the KGB penetrated and controlled every aspect of Soviet life. It rooted out internal dissent, guarded the Communist leadership, mounted espionage and counterintelligence operations against enemy powers, and cowed the peoples of the USSR into abject obedience. It recruited agents and planted spies worldwide, gathering, buying, and stealing military, political, and scientific secrets from anywhere and everywhere. At the height of its power, with more than one million officers, agents, and informants, the KGB shaped Soviet society more profoundly than any other institution.

To the West, the initials were a byword for internal terror and external aggression and subversion, shorthand for all the cruelty of a totalitarian regime run by a faceless official mafia. But the KGB was not regarded that way by those who lived under its stern rule. Certainly it inspired fear and obedience, but the KGB was also admired as a Praetorian guard, a bulwark against Western imperialist and capitalist aggression, and the guardian of Communism. Membership in this elite and privileged force was a source of admiration and pride. Those who joined the service did so for life. “There is no such thing as a former KGB man,” the former KGB officer Vladimir Putin once said. This was an exclusive club to join—and an impossible one to leave. Entering the ranks of the KGB was an honor and a duty to those with sufficient talent and ambition to do so.

Oleg Gordievsky never seriously contemplated doing anything else.

His father, Anton Lavrentyevich Gordievsky, the son of a railway worker, had been a teacher before the revolution of 1917 transformed him into a dedicated, unquestioning Communist, a rigid enforcer of ideological orthodoxy. “The Party was God,” his son later wrote, and the older Gordievsky never wavered in his devotion, even when his faith demanded that he take part in unspeakable crimes. In 1932, he helped enforce the “Sovietization” of Kazakhstan, organizing the expropriation of food from peasants to feed the Soviet armies and cities. Around 1.5 million people perished in the resulting famine. Anton saw state-induced starvation at close quarters. That year, he joined the office of state security, and then the NKVD, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, Stalin’s secret police and the precursor of the KGB. An officer in the political directorate, he was responsible for political discipline and indoctrination. Anton married Olga Nikolayevna Gornova, a twenty-four-year-old statistician, and the couple moved into a Moscow apartment block reserved for the intelligence elite. A first child, Vasili, was born in 1932. The Gordievskys thrived under Stalin.

When Comrade Stalin announced that the revolution was facing a lethal threat from within, Anton Gordievsky stood ready to help remove the traitors. The Great Purge of 1936 to 1938 saw the wholesale liquidation of “enemies of the state”: suspected fifth columnists and hidden Trotskyists, terrorists and saboteurs, counterrevolutionary spies, Party and government officials, peasants, Jews, teachers, generals, members of the intelligentsia, Poles, Red Army soldiers, and many more. Most were entirely innocent. In Stalin’s paranoid police state, the safest way to ensure survival was to denounce someone else. “Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away,” said Nikolai Yezhov, chief of the NKVD. “When you chop wood, chips fly.” The informers whispered, the torturers and executioners set to work, and the Siberian gulags swelled to bursting. But as in every revolution, the enforcers themselves inevitably became suspect. The NKVD began to investigate and purge itself. At the height of the bloodletting, the Gordievskys” apartment block was raided more than a dozen times in a six-month period. The arrests came at night: the man of the family was led away first, and then the rest.

It seems probable that some of these enemies of the state were identified by Anton Gordievsky. “The NKVD is always right,” he said: a conclusion both wholly sensible, and entirely wrong.

A second son, Oleg Antonyevich Gordievsky, was born on October 10, 1938, just as the Great Terror was winding down and war was looming. To friends and neighbors, the Gordievskys appeared to be ideal Soviet citizens, ideologically pure, loyal to Party and state, and now the parents to two strapping boys. A daughter, Marina, was born seven years after Oleg. The Gordievskys were well fed, privileged, and secure.

But on closer examination there were fissures in the family façade, and layers of deception beneath the surface. Anton Gordievsky never spoke about what he had done during the famines, the purges, and the terror. The older Gordievsky was a prime example of the species Homo Sovieticus, an obedient state servant forged by Communist repression. But underneath he was fearful, horrified, and perhaps gnawed by guilt. Oleg later came to see his father as “a frightened man.”

Olga Gordievsky, Oleg’s mother, was made of less tractable material. She never joined the Party, and she did not believe that the NKVD was infallible. Her father had been dispossessed of his watermill by the Communists; her brother sent to the eastern Siberian gulag for criticizing collective agriculture; she had seen many friends dragged from their homes and marched away in the night. With a peasant’s ingrained common sense, she understood the caprice and vindictiveness of state terror, but kept her mouth shut.

Oleg and Vasili, separated in age by six years, grew up in wartime. One of Gordievsky’s earliest memories was of watching lines of bedraggled German prisoners being paraded through the streets of Moscow, “trapped, guarded, and led like animals.” Anton was frequently absent for long periods, lecturing the troops on Party ideology.

Oleg Gordievsky dutifully learned the tenets of Communist orthodoxy: he attended School 130, where he showed an early aptitude for history and languages; he learned about the heroes of Communism, at home and abroad. Despite the thick veil of disinformation surrounding the West, foreign countries fascinated him. At the age of six, he began reading British Ally, a propaganda sheet put out in Russian by the British embassy to encourage Anglo-Russian understanding. He studied German. As expected of all teenagers, he joined Komsomol, the Communist Youth League.

His father brought home three official newspapers and spouted the Communist propaganda they contained. The NKVD morphed into the KGB, and Anton Gordievsky obediently followed. Oleg’s mother exuded a quiet resistance that only occasionally revealed itself in waspish, half-whispered asides. Religious worship was illegal under Communism, and the boys were raised as atheists, but their maternal grandmother had Vasili secretly baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church, and would have christened Oleg too had their horrified father not found out and intervened.

Oleg Gordievsky grew up in a tight-knit, loving family suffused with duplicity. Anton Gordievsky venerated the Party and proclaimed himself a fearless upholder of communism, but inside was a small and terrified man who had witnessed terrible events. Olga Gordievsky, the ideal KGB wife, nursed a secret disdain for the system. Oleg’s grandmother secretly worshipped an illegal, outlawed God. None of the adults in the family revealed what they really felt—to one another, or anyone else. Amid the stifling conformity of Stalin’s Russia, it was possible to believe differently in secret but far too dangerous for honesty, even with members of your own family. From boyhood, Oleg saw that it was possible to live a double life, to love those around you while concealing your true inner self, to appear to be one person to the external world and quite another inside.

Oleg Gordievsky emerged from school with a silver medal, head of the Komsomol, a competent, intelligent, athletic, unquestioning, and unremarkable product of the Soviet system. But he had also learned to compartmentalize. In different ways, his father, mother, and grandmother were all people in disguise. The young Gordievsky grew up around secrets.

Stalin died in 1953. Three years later he was denounced, at the 20th Party Congress, by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev. Anton Gordievsky was staggered. The official condemnation of Stalin, his son believed, “went a long way towards destroying the ideological and philosophical foundations of his life.” He did not like the way Russia was changing. But his son did.

The “Khrushchev Thaw” was brief and restricted, but it was a period of genuine liberalization that saw the relaxation of censorship and the release of thousands of political prisoners. These were heady times to be young, Russian, and hopeful.

At the age of seventeen, Oleg enrolled at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations. There, exhilarated by the new atmosphere, he engaged in earnest discussions with his peers about how to bring about “socialism with a human face.” He went too far. Some of his mother’s nonconformity had seeped into him. One day, he wrote a speech, naïve in its defense of freedom and democracy, concepts he barely understood. He recorded it in the language laboratory, and played it to some fellow students. They were appalled. “You must destroy this at once, Oleg, and never mention these things again.” Suddenly fearful, he wondered if one of his classmates had informed the authorities of his “radical” opinions. The KGB had spies inside the institute.

The limits of Khrushchev’s reformism were brutally demonstrated in 1956 when the Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary to put down a nationwide uprising against Soviet rule. Despite the all-embracing Soviet censorship and propaganda, news of the crushed rebellion filtered back to Russia. “All warmth disappeared,” Oleg recalled of the ensuing clampdown. “An icy wind set in.”

The Institute of International Relations was the Soviet Union’s most elite university, described by Henry Kissinger as “the Harvard of Russia.” Run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was the premier training ground for diplomats, scientists, economists, politicians—and spies. Gordievsky studied history, geography, economics, and international relations, all through the warping prism of Communist ideology. The institute provided instruction in fifty-six languages, more than any other university in the world. Language skills offered one clear pathway into the KGB and the foreign travel that he craved. Already fluent in German, he applied to study English, but the courses were oversubscribed. “Learn Swedish,” suggested his older brother, who had already joined the KGB. “It is the doorway to the rest of Scandinavia.” Gordievsky took his advice.

The institute library stocked some foreign newspapers and periodicals that, though heavily redacted, offered a glimpse of the wider world. These he began to read, discreetly, for showing overt interest in the West was itself grounds for suspicion. Sometimes at night he would secretly listen to the BBC World Service or the Voice of America, despite the radio-jamming system imposed by Soviet censors, and picked up “the first faint scent of truth.”

Like all human beings, in later life Gordievsky tended to see his past through the lens of experience, to imagine that he had always secretly harbored the seeds of insubordination, to believe his fate was somehow hardwired into his character. It was not. As a student, he was a keen Communist, anxious to serve the Soviet state in the KGB, like his father and brother. The Hungarian Uprising had caught his youthful imagination, but he was no revolutionary. “I was still within the system but my feelings of disillusionment were growing.” In this he was no different from many of his student contemporaries.

At the age of nineteen, Gordievsky took up cross-country running. Something about the solitary nature of the sport appealed to him, the rhythm of intense exertion over a long period, in private competition with himself, testing his own limits. Oleg could be gregarious, attractive to women, and flirtatious. His looks were bluntly handsome, with hair swept back from his forehead and open, rather soft features. In repose, his expression seemed stern, but when his eyes flashed with dark humor, his face lit up. In company he was often convivial and comradely, but there was something hard and hidden inside. He was not lonely, or a loner, but he was comfortable in his own company. He seldom revealed his feelings. Typically hungry for self-improvement, Oleg believed that cross-country running was “character building.” For hours he would run, through Moscow’s streets and parks, alone with his thoughts.

One of the few students he grew close to was Stanislaw Kaplan, a fellow runner on the university track team. “Standa” Kaplan was Czechoslovakian, and had already obtained a degree from Charles University in Prague by the time he arrived at the institute as one of several hundred gifted students from the Soviet bloc. Like others from countries only recently subjugated to Communism, Kaplan’s “individuality had not been stifled,” Gordievsky wrote, years later. A year older, he was studying to be a military translator. The two young men found they shared compatible ambitions and similar ideas. “He was liberal-minded and held strongly sceptical views about communism,” wrote Gordievsky, who found Kaplan’s forthright opinions exciting, and slightly alarming. With his dark good looks, Standa was a magnet to women. The two students became firm friends, running together, chasing girls, and eating in a Czech restaurant off Gorky Park.

An equally important influence was his idolized older brother, Vasili, who was now training to become an “illegal,” one of the Soviet Union’s vast global army of deep undercover agents.

The KGB ran two distinct species of spy in foreign countries. The first worked under formal cover, as a member of the Soviet diplomatic or consular staff, a cultural or military attaché, accredited journalist or trade representative. Diplomatic protection meant that these “legal” spies could not be prosecuted for espionage if their activities were uncovered, but only declared persona non grata, and expelled from the country. By contrast, an “illegal” spy (nelegal, in Russian) had no official status, usually traveled under a false name with fake papers, and simply blended invisibly into whatever country he or she was posted to. (In the West such spies are known as NOCs, standing for Non-Official Cover.) The KGB planted illegals all over the world, who posed as ordinary citizens, submerged and subversive. Like legal spies, they gathered information, recruited agents, and conducted various forms of espionage. Sometimes, as “sleepers,” they might remain hidden for long periods before being activated. These were also potential fifth columnists, poised to go into battle should war erupt between East and West. Illegals operated beneath the official radar and therefore could not be financed in ways that might be traced or communicate through secure diplomatic channels. But unlike spies accredited to an embassy, they left few traces for counterintelligence investigators to follow.

Product information

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Videos

Help others learn more about this product by uploading a video!
Upload video
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Similar brands on Amazon

Sponsored
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
11,973 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

OXFORD DON
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
MacIntyre does it again
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2018
A truly superb work of true life spy craft. Other reviewers have more than adequately outlined the content of this work. I will just comment on my continued amazement at how during the Cold War so many liberals in the West were Soviet apologists blaming the West for all the... See more
A truly superb work of true life spy craft. Other reviewers have more than adequately outlined the content of this work. I will just comment on my continued amazement at how during the Cold War so many liberals in the West were Soviet apologists blaming the West for all the world''s problems. In the UK particularly, so many in the Labour Party took money from Moscow while undermining democratic institutions. The Soviet Union was a hell hole from beginning to end. How anyone could support it in any way is inexplicable.
293 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Laurence R. BachmannTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Splendid history & a gripping read
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2018
The Spy and The Traitor is touted in its subhead as "the greatest espionage story ever told." That isn''t just publisher hype. The real events and the story of Oleg Gordievsky, KGB officer and diplomat reads like something from a John LeCarre or Robert Ludlum... See more
The Spy and The Traitor is touted in its subhead as "the greatest espionage story ever told." That isn''t just publisher hype. The real events and the story of Oleg Gordievsky, KGB officer and diplomat reads like something from a John LeCarre or Robert Ludlum story...except it''s true and marvelously documented. Raised by a father and older brother who both served devotedly and unquestioningly in the KGB (dad worked through Stalin''s purges and survived in the KGB''s precursor agency). Loyalty to the service then would seem to be a given--betraying the agency and its million members (you read that right) would be like sabotaging the family''s business. Yet events and history continue to flummox human expectations.

First the invasion of Hungary, then the erection of the Berlin Wall (which Gordievsky was present to see) and finally the brutal crushing of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia all drove this KGB officer further and further away from the party. Exposure to the West in Copenhagen and later in London provided a first hand taste of liberty and freedom. It served as the final push into the eager and eternally grateful arms of his M16 handlers. The double agent provided them with not merely a trove of concrete information but invaluable insight into the workings of the KGB and planning of the Soviet Leadership. It is no exaggeration to say Gordievsky was our Kim Philby. The details of these meetings, contacts, "drops", etc. and how spies operated from the end WWII until the dissolution of the Soviet empire is fascinating and novelistic in the telling. Gordievsky''s escape or "exfiltration" from the USSR by M16 is nothing short of breathtaking--a Bourne Identity moment.

Best of all though is the historical and moral context that gives readers a perspective of events'' meanings. Ben McIntyre is a masterful storyteller and detailed chronicler. He thoroughly but concisely points out the import and value of Grodievsky''s insights--particularly warning the Brits and thereby the Americans that the Soviet leader Yuri Andropov genuinely believed the West was intent upon a first nuclear strike. Appreciating that paranoia can be as perilous as animus, first Thatcher and then Reagan worked to assuage Soviet fears. It was Gordievsky who prepped both sides for successful summits in the 80s and it was he who counseled wisely to neither disband nor include the USSR in the SDI or Star Wars initiative. Rather, ratchet up the pressure and they would go bankrupt trying to keep up, which is precisely what happened.

Gordievsky certainly didn''t single handedly end the cold war--there were dozens of events and officials who played a significant role. But Oleg Gordievsky was surely in the first rank of those who made a valuable contribution earning the appreciation of Reagan, Thatcher, the CIA, M16 and yes, QEII (the monarch, not the ocean liner). Best of all, McIntryre doesn''t put a patriotic gloss on his subject''s behavior. What Gordievsky did was of enormous benefit to democracy and the West but it destroyed his marriage, implicated his wife and children as well as family and friends who all paid some price for his defection. In short, his actions both saved and ruined lives and the choices he made can be rightfully regarded as both morally defensible and appalling or enraging to those who knew him. Unsurprisingly, his marriage failed and most Russian friends regard him with disdain and disgust. In the western intelligence community he is a hero.

This is terrific, important history and a wonderfully well-told tale. Enjoy!
232 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Dave Gibbs
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ben Macintyre - the LeCarre of Non-Fiction
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2018
I thought I had read all the important main books on the Cold War, but Ben Macintyre comes through and gives us a true life narrative of one of the West''s greatest heroes - Oleg Gordievsky. A man who helped, particularly the UK, inform the goings on of the KGB and all the... See more
I thought I had read all the important main books on the Cold War, but Ben Macintyre comes through and gives us a true life narrative of one of the West''s greatest heroes - Oleg Gordievsky. A man who helped, particularly the UK, inform the goings on of the KGB and all the Boris and Natasha''s and helped hasten the end of that nasty politik.

This would be best read in the autumn on a train in the UK. Knowing that something good came out of all this, after all. Ben Macintyre probably will be sitting behind you. He has your back covered.
156 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
David Shulman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mrs. Thatcher''s Spy
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2018
It is not for nothing that John Le Carre noted in a front cover blurb “the best true spy story I have ever read.” Ben Macintyre’s biography of KGB Colonel and MI6 spy Oleg Gordievsky reads like a novel. His description of Gordievsky’s exfiltration from Moscow by MI6 under... See more
It is not for nothing that John Le Carre noted in a front cover blurb “the best true spy story I have ever read.” Ben Macintyre’s biography of KGB Colonel and MI6 spy Oleg Gordievsky reads like a novel. His description of Gordievsky’s exfiltration from Moscow by MI6 under the watchful eyes of the KGB has all the hallmarks of a tension-packed Hollywood spy drama and that alone is worth the price of the book.

The story begins with Gordievsky growing up as the son of a KGB general who becomes disillusioned with life under Soviet communism. He follows in his father’s footsteps and is recruited by the KGB. He is initially stationed in Denmark and there he is willingly recruited by MI6. As he rises in the KGB bureaucracy he become ever more important to the British. Along the way he marries, divorces remarries and has two daughters.

Where Gordievsky enters history is when he becomes a senior political officer in the KGB’s London rezindentura in the early 1980s. While there he reports to his MI6 handlers that the Soviets actually believed that the United States was going to launch a first strike on the Soviet Union. So paranoid is KGB head and future general secretary Yuri Andropov that he sets up Operation RYaN to find evidence of plans for a first strike. As in most bureaucracies the KGB spies produce such evidence thereby exacerbating his paranoia. The same thing happened with the CIA when it was ordered to look for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq twenty years later.

Compounding the problem was that at about the same time in 1983 NATO ordered up its massive Able Archer exercise which was a practice drill to deter a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. To the Russians it looked like a precursor to war. It was Gordievsky who tells the British of the Russian fears who then relay that information to the CIA. Several authors have noted that had not both sides deescalated, nuclear war was on the table. Gordievsky’s information to both
Thatcher and Reagan was influential in bringing about from the de-escalation.

As the Soviet heir apparent, Gorbachev met with Margaret Thatcher in London in 1984. Here Gordievsky’s role is crucial because be briefed both Thatcher and Gorbachev as MI6 spy and KGB political officer on negotiating strategy. The meeting was a big success and Thatcher noted that Gorbachev was a man she could do business with. The end of the Cold War was now more than a pipe dream. Later, after his exfiltration, Gordievsky meets with Reagan to advise him on negotiating strategy for an upcoming meeting with Gorbachev.

But wait, what caused Gordievsky to be exfiltrated from Moscow, especially after he was made the Rezident of the KGB’s London office? In very short form the CIA is jealous of MI6 and wants to know who their source is. They soon find out and his name ends up on the desk of Aldrich Ames who was selling secrets to KGB officers in Washington. His betrayal leads to the death of scores of CIA operatives and sources in Russia and ultimately to the KGB investigation of Gordievsky. In Macintyre’s view Ames is a traitor who sold out his country for big bucks and Gordievsky is an honorable spy seeking to better his country.

This is a great book that I couldn’t put down and I highly recommend it. As an added plus you learn quite a bit of tradecraft.
112 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
T Hoffmann
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding, interesting read; masterfully told story
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2018
It is rare that any book keeps my interest through the entire story, but this is one of them. Because the story is true, it is better than even the best spy novel with made up characters and plot contrivances. Here everything was real and in many instances Oleg''s life... See more
It is rare that any book keeps my interest through the entire story, but this is one of them. Because the story is true, it is better than even the best spy novel with made up characters and plot contrivances. Here everything was real and in many instances Oleg''s life depended on decisions made by his handlers. The real-life spy dramas are one of my favorite genres. By the end of the book, I really felt sorry for Oleg''s wife and daughters, who through no fault of their own, ended up in a nightmare when Oleg left them behind in Russia only to be retrieved 6 years later with disastrous results.

I''ll be reading A Spy Among Friends next, which I hear is even better.
56 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Hammarhead
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2018
After 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... See more
After 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 ?
28 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Lan the Answer Man
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not A Spy Among Friends But Still Masterful
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2018
I just finished Ben Macintyre''s latest, The Spy and the Traitor, about Oleg Gordievsky, a senior KGB officer who for years spied for MI6 and, for a brief time, became the head of the KGB station in London, the highest ranking Russian spy working for the Brits, before he was... See more
I just finished Ben Macintyre''s latest, The Spy and the Traitor, about Oleg Gordievsky, a senior KGB officer who for years spied for MI6 and, for a brief time, became the head of the KGB station in London, the highest ranking Russian spy working for the Brits, before he was outed by events and the American traitor Aldrich Ames.

This isn''t of the same calibre as Macintyre''s A Spy Among Friends. That''s mostly because Gordievsky and his KGB cohorts simply are not as interesting or colorful as Kim Philby and friends. But Macintyre is the master of espionage research and reporting, the John Le Carré of spy non-fiction. I recommend this and anything he writes.

Gordievsky, by the way, is still alive and living under an assumed identity in a London suburb.
20 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Debra Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent!
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2018
Enjoyed this very much, so engrossing and informative. More suspenseful than any spy novel. The Putin references are quite fascinating and this book is a great reminder of his being once and forevermore a KGB agent with all that entails.
23 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report

Top reviews from other countries

Bluecashmere.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A "Wilderness of Mirrors."
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2019
I came to this book via “A Spy Among Friends”, Ben McIntyre’s fine book on Kim Philby with extensive references to the Cambridge spy ring. Although there is no-one of the extraordinary, and charismatic nature of Guy Burgess here, the book is utterly compelling. Quite apart...See more
I came to this book via “A Spy Among Friends”, Ben McIntyre’s fine book on Kim Philby with extensive references to the Cambridge spy ring. Although there is no-one of the extraordinary, and charismatic nature of Guy Burgess here, the book is utterly compelling. Quite apart from its deadly serious matter, the book is an enthralling read. I cannot think of a spy novel to rival it. Essentially it concerns the remarkable Oleg Gordievsky, but we also learn a great deal about the KGB and British and American espionage and counter espionage. Gordievsky’s father was a dyed in the wool KGB agent, and as such Oleg grew up in a family that was “well-fed, privileged and secure”. He seemed to be ideally set to follow his father and his older brother, Vasily, into the party machine, and indeed the talented young Oleg joined the Komsomol, with his brother already established as a rising figure in the KGB. All seemed to be set fair for the future. Yet even in his early years he is sensitive to divisions and secrets within the family. His mother, Olga, keeps remote from her husband’s political world and beneath the man for whom the Party was God, Oleg detects in his father, Anton, a “small, terrified man”. With the death of Stalin, Khruschev assumes power in the Soviet Union. At first there is much talk of the Khruschev Thaw, but the new leader is a tough man, who while purging the Party of many Stalinists and releasing political prisoners, has no intention of loosening the hold on the Soviet bloc. During this time Oleg is beginning to cultivate his yearning for foreign travel and becomes a regular listener to the BBC’s World Service. He is beginning to see a world beyond the confines of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, he idolises his elder brother and his prospects in the party machine are further enhanced by his acceptance at the KGB’s elite training school, specialising in the preparation of “illegals”, the secret, undercover agents as opposed to those who openly hold positions in consulates etc. In the early 1960s we have the Molody/Lonsdale affair, the Portland Spy Ring and most importantly, perhaps, the defection of Kim Philby. Philby was the highest in rank of all the spies that emerged in these years. His defection was a major blow to the morale of British and American intelligence and the trust between the two countries in this area. Success in the upper echelons of the KGB presupposed a stable marriage and Gordievsky makes what in effect is a marriage of convenience with Yelena, who is totally committed to the communist cause. While prospering in his KGB career, Oleg is deeply affected by his friendship with the cultivated Czech, Kaplan, by his experiences in East Germany and most of all his time in Denmark, where he delights in the freedom and opens himself to the wonders of classical music and western literature forbidden in Moscow. Vague alienation turns to loathing of the drab conformity of his homeland. Informal contacts are made with the Danish intelligence service PET and Oleg is now disillusioned with his life at home and nourished by western values. He is ripe for turning. At the same time his career is forging ahead. He is promoted to the rank of Major in the KGB, even as he suffers withdrawal symptoms on returning to Moscow. Key events move things on: the defection of Kaplan, the death of his brother, the appearance of Bromhead, who is to initiate Oleg’s defection as the codename SUNBEAM is born, a secret kept from the CIA. Mcintyre now picks up the intrigue that leads to the overcoming of suspicions within the intelligence services and the British government and eventually launches PIMLICO, the escape plan should it be necessary to get Gordievsky out of the USSR in a hurry. There are major obstacles ahead. Oleg’s re-marriage is one of them. The activities of an at first unpromising CIA agent, Aldrich Ames is a far more dangerous one. We are also approaching the 1982 nuclear crisis and Andropov’s assumption of supreme power – an old -fashioned, inward -looking ex-KGB officer. It is not long before Ames will uncover a key KGB agent working for British intelligence, even if his exact identity remains unknown for some time. Ames himself is to rise to become the chief of the CIA’s Soviet counter-intelligence unit and himself to desert to the Soviet cause. Gordievsky is promoted to become Rezident in London, the highest-ranking officer in the KGB in the UK. He is in a position now to pass almost all secret KGB documents to his new friends. Then comes the summons to Moscow. No pressure is placed on Gordievsky but in the end he elects to return. PIMLICO goes on to high alert. Amazingly, despite their knowledge via Ames, the KGB do no more than question Oleg and his new wife before sending the former to an expensive health resort. PIMLICO is now triggered and the exciting finale to the book is under way. McIntyre, sustains the suspense via precise detail while relentlessly turning the screw till it reaches unbearable tension. McIntyre deals fully with the aftermath, the meeting with Mrs Thatcher at Chequers, the conviction for treason and the death sentence passed on Gordievsky, the world tour that McIntyre describes as a “one man intelligence roadshow”, through to Gorbachev’s refusal to discuss the issue of Oleg’s family joining him in Britain. Not least is the loneliness that a man in hiding is unable to avoid. McIntyre, both directly and indirectly gives us a profound insight into the life of an illegal and the lives of espionage agents in general. From early on we see that spies are motivated in many different ways: for ideology, money, sex, blackmail and other far more confused needs. Whereas Ames sends at least 25 people to their deaths for money, others, Gordievsky and Philby among them, were ideologically motivated. As McIntyre tells us at the end, Oleg Gordievsky “is one of the bravest men I have ever met and one of the loneliest.” We are reminded of Kim Philby, who attempted to kill himself. The two, have much in common. Though Philby may have had the sharper intellect and the icier nerve, Gordievsky comes across as the more human figure, a man tortured by his conscience and his personal feelings. McIntyre is a first-rate writer, lucid and forever not just presenting events, but reaching beyond to the human realities that affect his subjects and all of us. This is a remarkable book. I cannot recommend it too highly.
130 people found this helpful
Report
Gentoo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
John Le Carre was right - it''s a great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2018
He describes it as the best spy story he had ever read and I agree. I read it over three days, it is a captivating story very well written. The author must have access to some good MI6 material and their support. It is gripping, all the more for recalling the period in...See more
He describes it as the best spy story he had ever read and I agree. I read it over three days, it is a captivating story very well written. The author must have access to some good MI6 material and their support. It is gripping, all the more for recalling the period in which the events took place. In the epilogue the book continues right up to the poisoning of the Skripals.
71 people found this helpful
Report
James oneill
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The spy and the traitor
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 26, 2018
Wow! What an absolutely fantastic book. They say that sometimes real life is stranger than fiction . Read this book and you will see just that. The author has went to extraordinary lengths to collate all these facts , and to write them down without hyperbole . If you never...See more
Wow! What an absolutely fantastic book. They say that sometimes real life is stranger than fiction . Read this book and you will see just that. The author has went to extraordinary lengths to collate all these facts , and to write them down without hyperbole . If you never read another book, read this, it will blow you away.
49 people found this helpful
Report
gcranshaw
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Better than any fiction
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2018
This is a completely unputdownable read. The narrative hooks you from the start and it really is difficult to remember that you''re reading about something that actually happened; it''s better than any James Bond. The author has completely captured the real world of our...See more
This is a completely unputdownable read. The narrative hooks you from the start and it really is difficult to remember that you''re reading about something that actually happened; it''s better than any James Bond. The author has completely captured the real world of our security services and the incredibly resilient people who man them but the driving force is Gordievsky. You live every minute with him and the dilemmas he faces. What I found particularly engrossing was the real effect he had on the cold war and the subsequent thawing of relations between east and west. I now want to read more by this author.
45 people found this helpful
Report
Mrs. I. S. Young
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2018
The best spy story ever.Oleg Gordievsky was such a brave man.Ben Macintyre had told this true story so well and I just couldn.t put the book down I am glad Gordievsky was treated so well on his return to Britain as his contribution to this country was enormous.
34 people found this helpful
Report
See all reviews
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.




Agent Sonya Operation Mincemeat Agent Zigzag Rogue Heroes Double Cross A Spy Among Friends
Uncovers the true story behind the Cold War’s most intrepid female spy Chronicles the extraordinary story of what happened after British officials planted a dead body behind enemy lines during WWII Fall into this gripping tale of loyalty, love, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal, based on recently declassified World War II files The incredible untold story of World War II’s greatest secret fighting force—Britain’s Special Air Force The untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it The unbelievable true story of Kim Philby, the Cold War’s most infamous spy

Description

Product Description

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.

Review

“Every bit as exciting as my favorite spy novels.” —Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“Readers seeking a page-turning spy story, look no further. The author of A Spy Among Friends and Agent Zigzag, among others, does it again, this time delivering a Cold War espionage story for the ages… another can’t miss account of intrigue and intelligence.”  Boston Globe
 
“The subtitle of Macintyre’s latest real-life spy thriller calls it ‘The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War.’ Like pretty much everything in this fine book, the description is accurate… Macintyre is fastidious about tradecraft details… [he] has become the preeminent popular chronicler of British intelligence history because he understands the essence of the business.”  —Washington Post

The Spy and the Traitor [is] a fast-paced and fascinating biography of Russian-spy-turned-British-asset Oleg Gordievsky… It’s nonfiction, but it reads like the best of thrillers… The toll spying takes on Gordievsky’s personal life is enthralling, and the details of how deep the effects of one KGB agent’s deception can go are, in these days of Russian election meddling, quite frightening.”  San Francisco Chronicle

“Who was the most important spy of the Cold War era? Ben Macintyre convincingly nominates Oleg Gordievsky… Readers should rejoice in a very readable book by a skilled story-teller. Although an intelligence outsider, Mr. Macintyre enjoys the trust of MI6… Mr. Macintyre’s account of how the officer known as Bromhead recruited Mr. Gordievsky as a spy is a textbook study of intelligence reality; indeed, these pages alone are worth the price of the book… In terms of suspense, the flight through Russia is of thriller-quality.” Washington Times

“Oleg Gordievsky was the most significant British agent of the cold war… The result is a dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage.”  The Guardian
 
“Even a reader not enamored of spy stories will have trouble putting this one down… [The story] unfolds with a pace and drama that recall the novels of John le Carré.”  Foreign Affairs 

“[A] swift-moving tale of true espionage in the most desperate years of the Cold War... The closing pages of Macintyre’s fluent yarn find Gordievsky attempting to escape captivity and flee to the West in a scenario worthy of John le Carré... Oddly timely, given the return of Russian spying to the front pages, and a first-rate study of the mechanics and psychology of espionage.”  Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“[A] captivating espionage tale... In a feat of real authorial dexterity, Macintyre accurately portrays the long-game banality of spycraft—the lead time and persistence in planning—with such clarity and propulsive verve that the book often feels like a thriller. The book has a startling relevancy to the news of the day... Macintyre has produced a timely and insightful page-turner.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Pick up any current true-crime spy book and you’ll probably see a version of this phrase on the cover: ‘The Greatest Spy Story Ever Told.’ Most of them don’t live up to the billing, but the latest by Ben Macintyre comes close…What makes this read propulsive is the way Macintyre tells the story almost as a character-driven novel… Macintyre’s way with details, as when he explains exactly how the KGB bugged apartments, or when he delves into KGB training, is utterly absorbing. The action is punctuated with plenty of heart-stopping near-discoveries, betrayals, and escapes. Fascinating, especially now.”  Booklist (starred review)
 
“Fans of narrative nonfiction, the Cold War, spy stories, foreign relations among the United States, England, and Russia, and Macintyre’s previous works will greatly enjoy this incredible true account.”  Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for  The Times of London and the bestselling author of  A Spy Among FriendsDouble CrossOperation MincemeatAgent Zigzag, and  Rogue Heroes, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

The KGB

Oleg Gordievsky was born into the KGB: shaped by it, loved by it, twisted, damaged, and very nearly destroyed by it. The Soviet spy service was in his heart and in his blood. His father worked for the intelligence service all his life, and wore his KGB uniform every day, including weekends. The Gordievskys lived amid the spy fraternity in a designated apartment block, ate special food reserved for officers, and spent their free time socializing with other spy families. Gordievsky was a child of the KGB.

The KGB—the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, or committee of state security—was the most complex and far-reaching intelligence agency ever created. The direct successor of Stalin’s spy network, it combined the roles of foreign- and domestic-intelligence gathering, internal security enforcement, and state police. Oppressive, mysterious, and ubiquitous, the KGB penetrated and controlled every aspect of Soviet life. It rooted out internal dissent, guarded the Communist leadership, mounted espionage and counterintelligence operations against enemy powers, and cowed the peoples of the USSR into abject obedience. It recruited agents and planted spies worldwide, gathering, buying, and stealing military, political, and scientific secrets from anywhere and everywhere. At the height of its power, with more than one million officers, agents, and informants, the KGB shaped Soviet society more profoundly than any other institution.

To the West, the initials were a byword for internal terror and external aggression and subversion, shorthand for all the cruelty of a totalitarian regime run by a faceless official mafia. But the KGB was not regarded that way by those who lived under its stern rule. Certainly it inspired fear and obedience, but the KGB was also admired as a Praetorian guard, a bulwark against Western imperialist and capitalist aggression, and the guardian of Communism. Membership in this elite and privileged force was a source of admiration and pride. Those who joined the service did so for life. “There is no such thing as a former KGB man,” the former KGB officer Vladimir Putin once said. This was an exclusive club to join—and an impossible one to leave. Entering the ranks of the KGB was an honor and a duty to those with sufficient talent and ambition to do so.

Oleg Gordievsky never seriously contemplated doing anything else.

His father, Anton Lavrentyevich Gordievsky, the son of a railway worker, had been a teacher before the revolution of 1917 transformed him into a dedicated, unquestioning Communist, a rigid enforcer of ideological orthodoxy. “The Party was God,” his son later wrote, and the older Gordievsky never wavered in his devotion, even when his faith demanded that he take part in unspeakable crimes. In 1932, he helped enforce the “Sovietization” of Kazakhstan, organizing the expropriation of food from peasants to feed the Soviet armies and cities. Around 1.5 million people perished in the resulting famine. Anton saw state-induced starvation at close quarters. That year, he joined the office of state security, and then the NKVD, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, Stalin’s secret police and the precursor of the KGB. An officer in the political directorate, he was responsible for political discipline and indoctrination. Anton married Olga Nikolayevna Gornova, a twenty-four-year-old statistician, and the couple moved into a Moscow apartment block reserved for the intelligence elite. A first child, Vasili, was born in 1932. The Gordievskys thrived under Stalin.

When Comrade Stalin announced that the revolution was facing a lethal threat from within, Anton Gordievsky stood ready to help remove the traitors. The Great Purge of 1936 to 1938 saw the wholesale liquidation of “enemies of the state”: suspected fifth columnists and hidden Trotskyists, terrorists and saboteurs, counterrevolutionary spies, Party and government officials, peasants, Jews, teachers, generals, members of the intelligentsia, Poles, Red Army soldiers, and many more. Most were entirely innocent. In Stalin’s paranoid police state, the safest way to ensure survival was to denounce someone else. “Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away,” said Nikolai Yezhov, chief of the NKVD. “When you chop wood, chips fly.” The informers whispered, the torturers and executioners set to work, and the Siberian gulags swelled to bursting. But as in every revolution, the enforcers themselves inevitably became suspect. The NKVD began to investigate and purge itself. At the height of the bloodletting, the Gordievskys” apartment block was raided more than a dozen times in a six-month period. The arrests came at night: the man of the family was led away first, and then the rest.

It seems probable that some of these enemies of the state were identified by Anton Gordievsky. “The NKVD is always right,” he said: a conclusion both wholly sensible, and entirely wrong.

A second son, Oleg Antonyevich Gordievsky, was born on October 10, 1938, just as the Great Terror was winding down and war was looming. To friends and neighbors, the Gordievskys appeared to be ideal Soviet citizens, ideologically pure, loyal to Party and state, and now the parents to two strapping boys. A daughter, Marina, was born seven years after Oleg. The Gordievskys were well fed, privileged, and secure.

But on closer examination there were fissures in the family façade, and layers of deception beneath the surface. Anton Gordievsky never spoke about what he had done during the famines, the purges, and the terror. The older Gordievsky was a prime example of the species Homo Sovieticus, an obedient state servant forged by Communist repression. But underneath he was fearful, horrified, and perhaps gnawed by guilt. Oleg later came to see his father as “a frightened man.”

Olga Gordievsky, Oleg’s mother, was made of less tractable material. She never joined the Party, and she did not believe that the NKVD was infallible. Her father had been dispossessed of his watermill by the Communists; her brother sent to the eastern Siberian gulag for criticizing collective agriculture; she had seen many friends dragged from their homes and marched away in the night. With a peasant’s ingrained common sense, she understood the caprice and vindictiveness of state terror, but kept her mouth shut.

Oleg and Vasili, separated in age by six years, grew up in wartime. One of Gordievsky’s earliest memories was of watching lines of bedraggled German prisoners being paraded through the streets of Moscow, “trapped, guarded, and led like animals.” Anton was frequently absent for long periods, lecturing the troops on Party ideology.

Oleg Gordievsky dutifully learned the tenets of Communist orthodoxy: he attended School 130, where he showed an early aptitude for history and languages; he learned about the heroes of Communism, at home and abroad. Despite the thick veil of disinformation surrounding the West, foreign countries fascinated him. At the age of six, he began reading British Ally, a propaganda sheet put out in Russian by the British embassy to encourage Anglo-Russian understanding. He studied German. As expected of all teenagers, he joined Komsomol, the Communist Youth League.

His father brought home three official newspapers and spouted the Communist propaganda they contained. The NKVD morphed into the KGB, and Anton Gordievsky obediently followed. Oleg’s mother exuded a quiet resistance that only occasionally revealed itself in waspish, half-whispered asides. Religious worship was illegal under Communism, and the boys were raised as atheists, but their maternal grandmother had Vasili secretly baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church, and would have christened Oleg too had their horrified father not found out and intervened.

Oleg Gordievsky grew up in a tight-knit, loving family suffused with duplicity. Anton Gordievsky venerated the Party and proclaimed himself a fearless upholder of communism, but inside was a small and terrified man who had witnessed terrible events. Olga Gordievsky, the ideal KGB wife, nursed a secret disdain for the system. Oleg’s grandmother secretly worshipped an illegal, outlawed God. None of the adults in the family revealed what they really felt—to one another, or anyone else. Amid the stifling conformity of Stalin’s Russia, it was possible to believe differently in secret but far too dangerous for honesty, even with members of your own family. From boyhood, Oleg saw that it was possible to live a double life, to love those around you while concealing your true inner self, to appear to be one person to the external world and quite another inside.

Oleg Gordievsky emerged from school with a silver medal, head of the Komsomol, a competent, intelligent, athletic, unquestioning, and unremarkable product of the Soviet system. But he had also learned to compartmentalize. In different ways, his father, mother, and grandmother were all people in disguise. The young Gordievsky grew up around secrets.

Stalin died in 1953. Three years later he was denounced, at the 20th Party Congress, by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev. Anton Gordievsky was staggered. The official condemnation of Stalin, his son believed, “went a long way towards destroying the ideological and philosophical foundations of his life.” He did not like the way Russia was changing. But his son did.

The “Khrushchev Thaw” was brief and restricted, but it was a period of genuine liberalization that saw the relaxation of censorship and the release of thousands of political prisoners. These were heady times to be young, Russian, and hopeful.

At the age of seventeen, Oleg enrolled at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations. There, exhilarated by the new atmosphere, he engaged in earnest discussions with his peers about how to bring about “socialism with a human face.” He went too far. Some of his mother’s nonconformity had seeped into him. One day, he wrote a speech, naïve in its defense of freedom and democracy, concepts he barely understood. He recorded it in the language laboratory, and played it to some fellow students. They were appalled. “You must destroy this at once, Oleg, and never mention these things again.” Suddenly fearful, he wondered if one of his classmates had informed the authorities of his “radical” opinions. The KGB had spies inside the institute.

The limits of Khrushchev’s reformism were brutally demonstrated in 1956 when the Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary to put down a nationwide uprising against Soviet rule. Despite the all-embracing Soviet censorship and propaganda, news of the crushed rebellion filtered back to Russia. “All warmth disappeared,” Oleg recalled of the ensuing clampdown. “An icy wind set in.”

The Institute of International Relations was the Soviet Union’s most elite university, described by Henry Kissinger as “the Harvard of Russia.” Run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was the premier training ground for diplomats, scientists, economists, politicians—and spies. Gordievsky studied history, geography, economics, and international relations, all through the warping prism of Communist ideology. The institute provided instruction in fifty-six languages, more than any other university in the world. Language skills offered one clear pathway into the KGB and the foreign travel that he craved. Already fluent in German, he applied to study English, but the courses were oversubscribed. “Learn Swedish,” suggested his older brother, who had already joined the KGB. “It is the doorway to the rest of Scandinavia.” Gordievsky took his advice.

The institute library stocked some foreign newspapers and periodicals that, though heavily redacted, offered a glimpse of the wider world. These he began to read, discreetly, for showing overt interest in the West was itself grounds for suspicion. Sometimes at night he would secretly listen to the BBC World Service or the Voice of America, despite the radio-jamming system imposed by Soviet censors, and picked up “the first faint scent of truth.”

Like all human beings, in later life Gordievsky tended to see his past through the lens of experience, to imagine that he had always secretly harbored the seeds of insubordination, to believe his fate was somehow hardwired into his character. It was not. As a student, he was a keen Communist, anxious to serve the Soviet state in the KGB, like his father and brother. The Hungarian Uprising had caught his youthful imagination, but he was no revolutionary. “I was still within the system but my feelings of disillusionment were growing.” In this he was no different from many of his student contemporaries.

At the age of nineteen, Gordievsky took up cross-country running. Something about the solitary nature of the sport appealed to him, the rhythm of intense exertion over a long period, in private competition with himself, testing his own limits. Oleg could be gregarious, attractive to women, and flirtatious. His looks were bluntly handsome, with hair swept back from his forehead and open, rather soft features. In repose, his expression seemed stern, but when his eyes flashed with dark humor, his face lit up. In company he was often convivial and comradely, but there was something hard and hidden inside. He was not lonely, or a loner, but he was comfortable in his own company. He seldom revealed his feelings. Typically hungry for self-improvement, Oleg believed that cross-country running was “character building.” For hours he would run, through Moscow’s streets and parks, alone with his thoughts.

One of the few students he grew close to was Stanislaw Kaplan, a fellow runner on the university track team. “Standa” Kaplan was Czechoslovakian, and had already obtained a degree from Charles University in Prague by the time he arrived at the institute as one of several hundred gifted students from the Soviet bloc. Like others from countries only recently subjugated to Communism, Kaplan’s “individuality had not been stifled,” Gordievsky wrote, years later. A year older, he was studying to be a military translator. The two young men found they shared compatible ambitions and similar ideas. “He was liberal-minded and held strongly sceptical views about communism,” wrote Gordievsky, who found Kaplan’s forthright opinions exciting, and slightly alarming. With his dark good looks, Standa was a magnet to women. The two students became firm friends, running together, chasing girls, and eating in a Czech restaurant off Gorky Park.

An equally important influence was his idolized older brother, Vasili, who was now training to become an “illegal,” one of the Soviet Union’s vast global army of deep undercover agents.

The KGB ran two distinct species of spy in foreign countries. The first worked under formal cover, as a member of the Soviet diplomatic or consular staff, a cultural or military attaché, accredited journalist or trade representative. Diplomatic protection meant that these “legal” spies could not be prosecuted for espionage if their activities were uncovered, but only declared persona non grata, and expelled from the country. By contrast, an “illegal” spy (nelegal, in Russian) had no official status, usually traveled under a false name with fake papers, and simply blended invisibly into whatever country he or she was posted to. (In the West such spies are known as NOCs, standing for Non-Official Cover.) The KGB planted illegals all over the world, who posed as ordinary citizens, submerged and subversive. Like legal spies, they gathered information, recruited agents, and conducted various forms of espionage. Sometimes, as “sleepers,” they might remain hidden for long periods before being activated. These were also potential fifth columnists, poised to go into battle should war erupt between East and West. Illegals operated beneath the official radar and therefore could not be financed in ways that might be traced or communicate through secure diplomatic channels. But unlike spies accredited to an embassy, they left few traces for counterintelligence investigators to follow.

Product information

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale

The Spy and the Traitor: popular The Greatest outlet online sale Espionage Story of the Cold War sale