The Spy and the Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

History , Military History , Military Theory
Paperback Published on: 30/05/2019
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Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction Award 2019

Shortlisted for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2019

Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2018

A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historians

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket.

The man was a spy for MI6. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB.

The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of espionage.

In The Spy and the Traitor Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of betrayal, duplicity and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241972137
  • Number of pages: 384
  • Weight: 313g
  • Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 24 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Spy and the Traitor
The ultimate cold war spy thriller
John le Carre is right to praise Ben Macintyre's gripping account of how Oleg Gordievsky, disillusioned with the corruption, philistinism and brutality of ... READ MORE
Richard Watson
The Spy and the Traitor
Have a stiff drink handy.
I read this in a couple of days which, for me, means being glued to this story. The narrative for each of the major players is moved along at just the rig... READ MORE
The Spy and the Traitor
A really superb book about the the secret world of espionage on both sides of the iron curtain. Also a remarkable story of the bravery and emotions of one ... READ MORE
Stephen Tatlock
The Spy and the Traitor
Fast paced thriller
Not read this author before but from page 1 this true story was riveting . I grew up against the background to this but had no insight into the way the Rus... READ MORE
W Autering-Cann
The Spy and the Traitor
Such great detail from the writer which really gets you engulfed in the story, which is a truly mesmerizing one
Fraser Moran
The Spy and the Traitor
"Will he get caught?"
I really enjoyed this book. It is a well written and researched account of Oleg Gordievsky and the world of KGB and M16, but also of his significance in i... READ MORE
David Evans
The Spy and the Traitor
What a brilliant story, full of amazing insights into the world of espionage. His escape from Russia alone is an exciting and somewhat amusing story. A mus... READ MORE
John Wells
The Spy and the Traitor
Another superb offering by this excellent author. I read it through over a couple of days. The story of Oleg Gordievsky and his career as a double agent,... READ MORE
Canuck Abroad
The Spy and the Traitor
So good, I read it twice
So well written by Ben Macintyre. Had to read it twice, it's so good, and just as gripping the second time of reading.
Robert Calcutt
The Spy and the Traitor
Fabulous piece of history writing
My daughter read this as she's studying A level history which involves the Cold War.she found it an excellent read and gave her a different perspective on... READ MORE
sarah pearson
The Spy and the Traitor
Nail biting story of 80’s espionage. A fascinating window into recent history- couldn’t put it down!
Susan Hatchett
The Spy and the Traitor
Really exciting and enjoyable book. I found it amazing. It was even more interesting than the fictional work of John le Carre. A real page turner.
The Spy and the Traitor
True Spy Thriller
One of the best books I have read over lockdown and ever! A great human story. In true James Bond fashion the hero wins out at the end and it’s true. I lov... READ MORE
Brian Snaith
The Spy and the Traitor
You couldn't make this up!
Brilliant book - as good as anything from Le Carre or Forsyth with the bonus of it all being true!
Nick Hutchinson
The Spy and the Traitor
Extraordinary story of a real KGB agent
A marvellously tense story of a Russian working for MI5. The great thing is that it is true. Delightful expose of the measures that the British Security S... READ MORE
Peter Craig-Wood
The Spy and the Traitor
An extraordinary story
This book really was an incredibly interesting read, and gave a surreal insight into the soviet and western political climate at the time. What a story. On... READ MORE
Martyna Sledz
The Spy and the Traitor
Too Far-Fetched to be Fiction
The story of Oleg Gordievsky has always fascinated me but nobody, bar the man himself, has put it into writing better than Ben McIntyre in this book. The d... READ MORE
The Spy and the Traitor
Simply superb
Comprehensive & gripping. Macintyre delivers detail research in a page turning drama you won’t want to put down. A must read!
Thomas Nelson
The Spy and the Traitor
Must read and super engaging
Hamish  Kuperus
The Spy and the Traitor
Spy & the traitor
Excellent reading with good background research - a riveting read.
Charles Brown
The Spy and the Traitor
The Spy and the Traitor
Excellent. Reads like a spy novel. i shall seek out more of ben Macintyre's books.