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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (English Edition) Format Kindle
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Description du produit
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. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Revue de presse
One of Boston Globe's Hot Picks for Cool Fall Books
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“[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)
--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Détails sur le produit
- ASIN : B07B4K1JVJ
- Éditeur : Penguin; 1er édition (20 septembre 2018)
- Langue : Anglais
- Taille du fichier : 23588 KB
- Synthèse vocale : Activée
- Confort de lecture : Activé
- X-Ray : Activé
- Word Wise : Activé
- Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 353 pages
- Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon : 16,133 en Boutique Kindle (Voir les 100 premiers en Boutique Kindle)
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Meilleures évaluations de France
Un problème s'est produit lors du filtrage des commentaires. Veuillez réessayer ultérieurement.
"The Spy and the Traitor" est bien documenté et accessible. Toutefois je l'ai trouvé un peu trop formel, trop sobre. Je l'ai également trouvé un peu laborieux dans sa première moitié : l'exposition des personnages principaux, le récit des premières rencontres entre la taupe soviétique et le MI6, etc. m'ont semblé bien longuets et répétitifs. J'ai davantage apprécié la seconde partie du récit, quand l'étau se resserre sur notre héros.
Meilleurs commentaires provenant d’autres pays
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.
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.
I am glad Gordievsky was treated so well on his return to Britain as his contribution to this country was enormous.