Top English spy-hunter Pincher rocked Britain's ship of state in 1981 with Their Trade is Treachery, and again in 1984 with...

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TRAITORS: The Anatomy of Treason

Top English spy-hunter Pincher rocked Britain's ship of state in 1981 with Their Trade is Treachery, and again in 1984 with Too Secret Too Long, books that exposed deep Soviet infiltration of Britain's intelligence services. Here he offers no stunning new revelations, but instead a definitive study of 20th-century treason, a mother lode of psychological and political insight veined with intriguing case studies, anecdotes, and treason-lore. Pincher focuses here on post-WW II British and American traitors working for the Soviets, although he will dig back to WW I to prove a point, particularly when emphasizing his primary themes--that the causes for treason are more manifold and complex, and the number of traitors greater, than generally believed. He begins by rejecting as insufficient the CIA's delightful acronym to explain treason, ""MICE""--money, ideology, compromise, ego--and by book's end proposes his own formula: A+m+r+b+ f+s+i-->T (Access + money + resentment + blackmailability + flawed character + self-satisfaction + ideology -->Treason)! Fortunately, this dusty equation is attained, and illustrated, through a fascinating, encyclopedic survey of traitors and their attributes, with separate chapters on ""The Pull of Ideology,"" ""The Homo-Sex Factor,"" ""Terrorists as Traitors,"" ""How Traitors Survive,"" ""Why Traitors Confess,"" etc., with each issue explored through reference to at least a score of individual cases--up through the Walker case. For the most part, Pincher's research is solid (and well supported by 23 pages of sources), his speculations sound; but in his conclusion, he does veer into the sort of paranoia that has marred his previous work. Are we really to believe that ""many civil libertarians are Communists or members of branches of the hard left""? Or that ""homosexuality may be indicative of a nature likely to harbour a dangerous degree of resentment against authority""? Still, despite its hard-right tinge, this is an impressive and important work that should prove a useful sourcebook as well providing readers with an eye-opening, at times scary, look into a shadow world.

Pub Date: July 20, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1987