THE TRAITORS by Alan Moorehead
Kirkus Star


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A highly intelligent introduction to the three atomic spies, Allan Nunn May, Klaus Fuchs and Doctor Bruno Pontecervo, which is not just an airing of the facts in their cases- fascinating as they are, but an inquiry into the moral content of their treason, the political climate which prompted it, and the concept of loyalty and freedom such betrayals jeopardized. These three, educated men rather than mercenaries and professionals, directed by a sense of mission however misguided, present a curious study in personality:- Allan Nunn May, an unremarkable little man who was a senior reader in physics at King's College, London, at the time of his arrest, but prior to that had been an active informer in Montreal; Klaus Fuchs, also detached, shy, serious, a scientist of international standing at the British atomic centre in Harwell, and a man whose conscience- ""divine, unquestioned and inexplicable"" led him to turn over his knowledge of the uranium bomb, the plutonium bomb and its detonating lens, to the Russians; and finally Pontecervo, also at Harwell, gay, charming, sociable, whose happy-go-lucky holiday in Europe with his family preceded a final disappearance behind the Iron Curtain... An exciting interrogation into character and conduct, handled with style and a speculative thoughtfulness.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1952
Publisher: Scribner