Book Group: The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre

South Bank Centre - Royal Festival Hall

Belvedere Road · London SE1 8XX

How to find us

Level Two, behind the shop, underneath the stairs.

Location image of event venue

Details

June's book is Ben Macintyre's The Spy and the Traitor.

John Le Carre calls it “The best true spy story I have ever read” and I don’t think he’s exaggerating. It reads like a spy story with all the adventures and suspense but is also a true story and so full of revealing insight into what Soviet Russia did to influence the West. A must read, I think, in today’s climate.

From Goodreads: "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, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6.

For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations".

If you can please support your local booksellers or check out Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk

While we are very social and welcoming, the book group's primary focus is on discussing books. Feel free to turn up if you haven't managed to finish this month's book but note that the group works best when we have all read at least some of the book and are prepared to share our opinions.

Katia:[masked]

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

We kindly ask for £3 cash per head to help cover the costs of our speaker meetings, venue hire, our annual Meetup subscription fees, and the CLHG membership of various international humanist bodies. The collection is made during each meeting. You can also make an online donation (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ZWCNRJ25BDL96) at any time.

Events are advertised on multiple online portals, and through email, so the RSVP numbers on any one portal will not reflect the actual greater attendance on the day.

We encourage dialogue, debate and sharing of information on our site but ask people to keep their comments cordial. Any views expressed here are those of the individual posting them and may not reflect those of the CLHG.