Oddly timely, given the return of Russian spying to the front pages, and a first-rate study of the mechanics and psychology...

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THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR

THE GREATEST ESPIONAGE STORY OF THE COLD WAR

Swift-moving tale of true espionage in the most desperate years of the Cold War.

Oleg Gordievsky (b. 1938) seemed to be a true believer in communism, a man who had emerged from secondary school, writes Macintyre (Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit that Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War, 2016, etc.), as “a competent, intelligent, athletic, unquestioning and unremarkable product of the Soviet system.” Yet, after being admitted to the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations and groomed for service, Gordievsky revealed radical leanings toward democracy. Recruited as a KGB officer all the same, he was an appalled witness to the building of the Berlin Wall, but it “did not prevent him faithfully carrying out the orders of the KGB.” Then came the invasion of Czechoslovakia and a home visit to a country that seemed to be increasingly poor and shabby in what he called a “totalitarian cacophony.” At this point, Gordievsky was ripe for the turning. He became a valued asset of MI6, identifying Soviet spies and fellow travelers. So important was Gordievsky’s role, and so difficult for the spymasters to manage, that MI6 tried to conceal his identity from their CIA allies, which gave the Americans fits—until, in 1985, a disgruntled, shabby CIA officer named Aldrich Ames “chose to sell out America to the KGB in order to buy the American Dream he felt he deserved.” One of those he revealed was Gordievsky, who, for all his “knack for detecting loyalty, suspicion, conviction and faith,” was caught in the KGB’s net and returned to Moscow. 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, even as another net tightens around the American spy whom Gordievsky scorns as a "greedy bastard.”

Oddly timely, given the return of Russian spying to the front pages, and a first-rate study of the mechanics and psychology of espionage.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-90419-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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IN COLD BLOOD

"There's got to be something wrong with somebody who'd do a thing like that." This is Perry Edward Smith, talking about himself. "Deal me out, baby...I'm a normal." This is Richard Eugene Hickock, talking about himself. They're as sick a pair as Leopold and Loeb and together they killed a mother, a father, a pretty 17-year-old and her brother, none of whom they'd seen before, in cold blood. A couple of days before they had bought a 100 foot rope to garrote them—enough for ten people if necessary. This small pogrom took place in Holcomb, Kansas, a lonesome town on a flat, limitless landscape: a depot, a store, a cafe, two filling stations, 270 inhabitants. The natives refer to it as "out there." It occurred in 1959 and Capote has spent five years, almost all of the time which has since elapsed, in following up this crime which made no sense, had no motive, left few clues—just a footprint and a remembered conversation. Capote's alternating dossier Shifts from the victims, the Clutter family, to the boy who had loved Nancy Clutter, and her best friend, to the neighbors, and to the recently paroled perpetrators: Perry, with a stunted child's legs and a changeling's face, and Dick, who had one squinting eye but a "smile that works." They had been cellmates at the Kansas State Penitentiary where another prisoner had told them about the Clutters—he'd hired out once on Mr. Clutter's farm and thought that Mr. Clutter was perhaps rich. And this is the lead which finally broke the case after Perry and Dick had drifted down to Mexico, back to the midwest, been seen in Kansas City, and were finally picked up in Las Vegas. The last, even more terrible chapters, deal with their confessions, the law man who wanted to see them hanged, back to back, the trial begun in 1960, the post-ponements of the execution, and finally the walk to "The Corner" and Perry's soft-spoken words—"It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did. Even inappropriate. But I do. I apologize." It's a magnificent job—this American tragedy—with the incomparable Capote touches throughout. There may never have been a perfect crime, but if there ever has been a perfect reconstruction of one, surely this must be it.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 1965

ISBN: 0375507906

Page Count: 343

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1965

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