The Spy and The Traitor is a true story about the life of a spy – Oleg Gordievsky. A non-fiction book review.
I really enjoy reading non-fiction books and have begun posting reviews of my favorites. I recently read: The Spy and The Traitor – By Ben Macintyre
I read this book because I have always been fascinated with stories of international espionage and wanted to learn more about the world of “global intelligence” and “spydom”.
This book tells the true story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent – turned double agent who advances to Senior Intelligence Officer out of the Soviet Embassy in London and his eventual escape from the Soviet Union after being discovered.
It provides a remarkable window into the steps taken by Mr. Gordievsky to become an international spy, his decision-making and activities as a double agent – all during a time of heightened international tensions; the Soviet Union being portrayed as the evil empire – and the apparent belief within the Soviet Union that the West was preparing for a first strike nuclear attack.
I was intrigued with what it meant for Mr. Gordievsky to be born into a KGB family, and the pride and social position demonstrated by his father, who even after retirement still wore his uniform every day, including weekends. I was also surprised by what seems to be the world’s general acceptance and tolerance that in addition to Ambassadors and staff, Embassies (on all sides) house spies that also support “illegals” (spies living undercover…”sleeper agents”)…
Start to finish Mr. Gordievsky’s story is a suspenseful thriller culminating with his final escape that I’m sure only 007 could truly appreciate.
Mr. Gordievsky’s desire to live in and to support a Western ideology came at great personal risk and sacrifice for which he never took any financial reward. He also put his family and anyone associated with him at risk and suspicion. His cost was family, friends and country. Even today, he remains in hiding and estranged from his children.
His defection is said to have assisted both sides, as information he later provided helped to avert nuclear confrontation and end the cold war.
Ben Macintyre had great subject matter here and didn’t squander it; he authored one of my all time favorite reads. In addition to interviews with Mr. Gordievsky, information was also gathered and confirmed through interviews with MI6, MI5, KGB and CIA agents under anonymity….
What a read! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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