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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest…
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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (originale 2018; edizione 2019)

di Ben Macintyre (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
7173123,211 (4.34)36
On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal- to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever . . .… (altro)
Utente:ibkennedy
Titolo:The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
Autori:Ben Macintyre (Autore)
Info:Crown (2019), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:****
Etichette:Nessuno

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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War di Ben Macintyre (2018)

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I really liked this book, but the story isn't the easiest thing to follow in an audiobook. There are a lot of names to follow, and I had a hard time keeping the USSR folks straight. ( )
  A2Seamster | Apr 9, 2021 |
Interestinbg ( )
  ibkennedy | Feb 23, 2021 |
9 stars: Super, couldn't put it down.

From the back cover: Oleg Gordievesky was a spy like no other. The product of a KGB family and the best Soviet institutions, the savvy Russian eventually saw the lies and terror of the regime for what they were, a realization that turned him irretrievably toward the West. His career eventually brought him to the highest post in the KGB's London station - but throughout that time, he was secretly working with MI6, the British intelligence service.

As the Cold War heated up in the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Gordievsky 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 MI6 fierecely 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.

------------

This book held me riveted. I had previously read a book which focused on Aldrich Ames. From that, I was aware of Gordievesky's name and that he did successfully escape Russia (though many other spies were murdered). Having said that, this book was much better. For the bulk of it, it focused on Gordievesky and why he turned from the Soviet Union. At one point in London, he was recalled to Russia. He considered not going, and did discuss with MI6, but ultimately he went back. He sensed the noose being tightened around him, and escaped through Norway, in the trunk of a car, in a fashion that would remind one of a spy movie -- but this is real life! Kept me riveted.

A few quotes I liked:

Paranoia is born of propaganda, ignorance, secrecy, and fear. The KGB's London station in 1982 was one of the most profoundly paranoid places on earth, and organization imbued with a siege mentality largely based on fantasy.

In a craven and hierarchical organization, the only thing more dangerous than revealing your own ignorance is to draw attention to the stupidity of the boss.

Reagan noted in his diary [after a briefing of info from Gordievsky] "I feel the Soviets are so paranoid of being attacked that we ought to tell them no one here has any intention of doing anything like that... Three years had taught me something surprising about the Russians: many people at the top of the Soviet hierarchy were genuinely afraid of America and Americans." [whereas Thatcher and Reagan were concerned about Soviet effect on Western democracy].

The cash could simply have been handed over to the illegal on arrival, but the KGB never opted for simplicity when something more elaborate could be devised. ( )
  PokPok | Dec 10, 2020 |
MacIntyre has written another excellent spy book. It reads like a fiction thriller in places. I imagine it is difficult for someone to young to remember the cold days of the Cold War, to fully grasp what was at stack, and how this one man did a great deal to keep a nuclear war from happening. Putin said, "There is no such thing as a former KGB man. Now with Putin's rise to power it is important to understand the psychology of the KGB. Oleg Gordievsky is owed a debt of gratitude by the West. The book is perfect in its research, and dramatic telling of these events. ( )
  mysterymax | Oct 8, 2020 |
This book did not "grab" my attention and I did not finish it. Other members of my reading group quite enjoyed it but the subject matter was not interesting to me. MI5 and espionage seem so outdated.. ( )
  lesleynicol | Oct 5, 2020 |
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He had two lives: one open, seen and known by all who cared to know... and the other running its course in secret. --Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Dog
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In memory of Joanna Macintyre

(1934-2015)
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For the KGB's counterintelligence section,
Directorate K, this was a routine bugging job.
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On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal- to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever . . .

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