The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre

The Spy and the Traitor

The celebrated author of A Spy Among Friends and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Cold War-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union.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, sophistic...

Details The Spy and the Traitor

TitleThe Spy and the Traitor
Release DateSep 18th, 2018
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Spy Thriller, Espionage, Biography, Cultural, Russia

Reviews The Spy and the Traitor

  • Jaidee
    5 " superb, exciting, edge of your seat" stars !! 10th Favorite Read of 2018 Award Mr. MacIntyre has written a superb and thrilling book about one of our foremost living spies.Mr. Oleg Gordievsky was Russian KGB that became an agent for M-16 in England and over the course of the Cold War was able to feed England important information that may have led not only to our world being safe from nuclear disaster but perhaps also to the dissolution of t...
  • Susan
    Undoubtedly, relations between Russia and the UK are at their lowest for many years, which, perhaps, makes this book even more relevant. Ben Macintyre takes us back to the 1980’s and the Cold War, with his usual brand of, almost schoolboy, enthusiasm and ability to give the most important, political events, the human angle necessary to make you care about those involved. This, then, is the story of ‘Operation Pimlico;’ an emergency escape p...
  • Lou
    With the current state of affairs between Russian and the UK, this story is more relevant than ever, and I suspect it will always be of interest to those who enjoy this genre. Ben MacIntyre is a fantastic writer and knows exactly how to grab the reader and hold them in place from first page to last. I found this as compelling and thrilling as any fiction book would be. Accurate and meticulously researched, this is a book not to be missed. I will ...
  • Diane
    Another fascinating spy story from Ben Macintyre! "The Spy and the Traitor" focuses on Oleg Gordievsky, who was a KGB agent but was also secretly spying for the British intelligence service in the 1970s and 80s.I didn't know much about Gordievsky before starting this book, which made the true story seem all the more incredible. Previously I had read and enjoyed Macintyre's "A Spy Among Friends," which was about Kim Philby, a British agent who was...
  • Brandon Forsyth
    Macintyre's best yet! A truly staggering story told by a consummate storyteller. That being said, it's pretty clear that the book's sources are fairly biased towards Gordievsky, and while Macintyre does a good job noting where his sources are displaying overt nostalgia or actively misremembering motivations, there's not a strong voice to counteract the overall tone of the narrative SIS officers and agents are providing here. Still, that's not rea...
  • Cindy Burnett
    The Spy and the Traitor is the true tale of Oleg Gordievsky, a high-level KGB agent, who worked as a double agent for Great Britain and MI6. Gordievsky helped bring about the demise of the Soviet Union, and The Spy and the Traitor details his career and the story of how a CIA agent was almost his downfall. It is a fabulous, nail-biting read that flows like a fast-paced thriller especially as the author carefully unveils the details of Gordievsky...
  • Kevin M
    An exceptional read!Everything you could want from a spy story: descriptions of trade craft, code names, depictions of all the facets of being a spy, from the humdrum review and contact of low level targets to moments of pants-distressing terror. And all the more captivating for it all being true!The names have been changed, but the events spanning around two decades during the height of the Cold War are all very much non-fiction. Oleg Gordievsky...
  • Alex Givant
    Excellent account on life of Oleg Gordievsky (if you want to check for his autobiography - check Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky). Ben Macintyre knows how to write about spies - what make them moving and doing stuff they did. Another great books just finished recently is A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. Both are highly recommended.
  • Harry Buckle
    Ben Macintyre is in the top ten of my all time favourite authors...although possibly that should say 'favourite reporters'. Because report is what he does...and he does it really well. Taking both well known and 'new to me' episodes and events of the past 100 years and retelling/reporting them in riveting style. Crimes, wars, politics, people, espionage- I just checked out his list of titles and I would or have, given all of them well deserved fi...
  • Andrew
    Ben Macintyre is John le Carré's literary heir. But his stories are real. His newest, and best, book perfectly captures the tedium of most spy work alleviated only the the heart-thumping terror of when things go wrong. And spies being human, things always go wrong in the most mundane of ways.
  • Paul
    A  man dressed in a drab grey suit standing in a street corner in the middle of Moscow looking like the other citizens passing him by would have been almost unnoticeable, but because he was holding a plastic bag from the British supermarket, Safeway, for the people looking out for him he stood out like a beacon. He was not a regular Soviet citizen, he was a senior KGB officer and he had just activated his escape plan. He now had to hope that his...
  • Kate
    This book is brilliant. First of all, the actual story is so gripping that no James Bond movie or John Le Carre novel can hold a candle against it. Sometimes, when we see similar things on the screen we say “no way” in a dismissive smug manner, but the Gordievsky tale is all this and more. Simply unbelievable!!However, it also takes a very skilled researcher and narrator to tell this story so well. Macintyre has taken a vast number of facts a...
  • Cheryl
    Oleg Gordievsky is one of the most valuable spies ever recruited by a Western intelligence agency. He provided Britain’s MI6 with invaluable information for over ten years beginning in the mid 1970’s when the “Cold War” was being waged between the East and West. Because he was a colonel in the KGB, Gordievsky was privy to highly secret information which he then passed on to MI6. This information had repercussions which lasted well into th...
  • Laura
    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:Ben Macintyre's thrilling new book tells the story of a KGB double agent and plunges us into the Cold War's underworld of espionage, duplicity and intrigue. Today, disaffection sets in for one of the KGB's newest recruits. Tim McInnerny readsBen Macintyre's thrilling new history tells the breath taking story of a KGB double agent operating at the height of the Cold War. Passing countless secrets to his British ...
  • Jon Norimann
    The Spy and the Traitor is an excellent spy thriller and documentary in one. MacIntyre chronicles the life and work of Oleg Gordievsky, one of the wests most effective spies inside the Soviet Union during the cold war. Good writing gives this documentary as much supsense as any made up spy story. In addition it gives some insight into politics in the cold war era. The length is about right with reading time in hours in the high single digits.A go...
  • Julie
    Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and that is certainly the case of Oleg Gordievsky, KGB double agent who’s valuable intel helped shape the Cold War. His diplomatic postings would eventually lead him to the highest office in the KGB’s London station, and all the while he provided MI6 with a cache of information that impacted politics on a global scale. Whether it was coaching Thatcher for her meeting with Gorbachev, identifying KG...
  • Mark
    I am an avid reader of espionage novels Le Carre, Len Deighton, Mick Herron, Charles Cumming, Ken Follett, Robert Harris to name a few... But have never strayed into the murky waters of a true spy story, but I am so happy that I did, this is an incredible true story, magnificently told by Ben Macintyre.I'll definitely be reading more of his books!
  • Samuel
    A good non fiction book about the one spy who survived death by Aldrich Ames. Quite possibly the finest hour of the SIS in the Cold War, an example of how asset cultivation and handling is done right and how sometimes, even when the odds seem high, it's perfectly possible to bring one spy in from the cold.
  • Dumbledore11214
    The celebrated author of A Spy Among Friends and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Cold War-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union.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, sophistic...
  • Stijn Zanders
    A remarkable story laid out perfectly in this book. It is very interesting to read how this double spy influenced the cold war in a big way. It is one of the best books I have read thus far this year.
  • Jamie
    Definitely the best book I've read so far this year - it was like a thriller movie in words with all the right characters and pacing that immediately sucked me in and didn't let me go until the final word. I also loved learning more about the Cold War - it's crazy to think about how much worse it could have been had it not been for the efforts of a handful of people and one spy.
  • Kolumbina
    The books about spys were never on the top of my reading pile. This book was recommended to me by Chris, a lovely old lady who walks her dog Chloe and always stops for a little chat.An interesting book, a lot of detail, a lot of people, a true story. Great descriptions of places, especially Denmark (remembered some of the places). Also in Russia, I visited Russia in 1980es (wasn't aware of many things at the time) the book brought a lot of memori...
  • Maine Colonial
    I don’t know how he does it, but Ben Macintyre has once again produced a dazzling tale of 20th-century espionage that is more gripping than any thriller novel or movie. I also don’t know why I don’t remember media reports of Oleg Gordievsky’s escape from Russia to Britain, because it’s a stunner. Macintyre tells Gordievsky’s story of following his father’s and brother’s footsteps to become a KGB officer; becoming disenchanted with...
  • Henri
    Truly spectacular!I never have read a single Ben Macintyre work but will surely aqcuire a few and get to them promptly. This was a staggeringly beautiful and prosaic page-turner. Non-Fiction that reads like your ordinary spy thriller but is indeed based on fact. I could not put it down for two days straight and sat engrossed till late at night both times. Highly recommended to anyone that likes a bit of history non-fiction but does not necessaril...
  • Kalen
    Do yourself a favor and read this book. I mean, come on. When John Le Carre says it's, “the best true spy story I have ever read" what are you waiting for? So, really, I liked Macintyre's earlier book "A Spy Among Friends" better than this one but only because it was the first time I've read spy nonfiction and I was blown away by the wackadoodle world in which these guys (and gals) live. This one wasn't any less wackadoodle but it wasn't as sho...
  • Paul
    I really enjoyed two things about this one. First, Macintyre has a way of explaining the rudimentary skills of spy-craft without dumbing it down at all. He seamlessly integrates the information into the narrative of Oleg’s life. Second, I was amazed at the depth of this story. Not only the number of people and plots Oleg’s information was able to put down, but the vast threads of influence that went into protecting him, and a couple who threa...
  • ben
    to enjoy this book fully, I recommend skipping ahead often. like many accounts of true stories, it delves into entire backstories of side characters or drowns us in detail, which only grinds down the pace of the book. other than that it was great
  • David Yoon
    For author Ben MacIntyre, Oleg Gordievsky belongs in the pantheon of world changing spies. A KGB colonel at the height of the Cold War, he was in fact an agent for the British Secret Service. The book opens with his flat in Moscow being bugged, cameras installed and a light coating of radioactive dust sprinkled on his clothes and shoes. Oleg is returning to Moscow and it's clear his traitorous activity of the past decade has been discovered. The ...
  • M. Nasiri
    The Spy and the Traitor (2018) details the real-life spy story of Oleg Gordievsky, the Soviet double-agent whose efforts contributed to the end of the Cold War. An audiobook which I have listened in
  • Liz
    This book was FASCINATING and so insanely good. It sort of reads like a PG version of “The Americans” - way less sex and violence, but still so suspenseful and riveting. And the fact that it’s all a true story makes it that much more incredible. Seriously, it’s one of the better nonfiction books I’ve ever read.