BOOK REVIEW: The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben MacIntyre

The Cipher Brief’s Under/Cover reviews:

THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR: THE GREATEST ESPIONAGE STORY OF THE COLD WAR by Ben MacIntyre, Crown, New York, 2018

Reviewed by Joseph W. Augustyn

What most experienced intelligence officers will tell you is that defector stories rarely end well.  Such is the case of one of the UK’s most important and heralded spies of the 20th century.  Ben MacIntyre, a writer-at-large for The Times of London, has written a masterful and thoroughly readable story of Oleg Gordievsky, a man who by all accounts, had it all.  Gordievsky grew up in a family of KGB officers, attended the best schools the Soviet Union had to offer, was a gifted athlete, had a sharp and inquiring mind, and had a career path into the Soviet intelligence apparatus that promised a life of privilege and prestige. The problem was Gordievsky was also an idealist, a sponge when it came to Western classical music and the arts, Western literature, and Western political thinking and philosophy.

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