[Marxism] Fwd: H-Net Review [H-War]: Price on Macintyre, 'The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War'

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Fri Nov 8 11:53:45 MST 2019

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Andrew Stewart 
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Begin forwarded message:

> From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review at lists.h-net.org>
> Date: November 7, 2019 at 7:58:02 AM EST
> To: h-review at lists.h-net.org
> Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp at mail.h-net.org>
> Subject: H-Net Review [H-War]:  Price on Macintyre, 'The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War'
> Reply-To: h-review at lists.h-net.org
> Ben Macintyre.  The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story 
> of the Cold War.  New York  Crown, 2018.  Illustrations. viii + 358 
> pp.  $28.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-101-90419-0.
> Reviewed by Cole Price (Air University)
> Published on H-War (November, 2019)
> Commissioned by Margaret Sankey
> The Spy and the Traitor tells the story of two men connected by fate. 
> Colonel Oleg Anonyevich Gordievsky (the spy) is the son of a career 
> KGB officer. Superficially, he was born to become a spy in the 
> service of the USSR at the height of the cold war. His education and 
> position within the Communist Party set him up for long-term success. 
> However, upon a deeper dive, his family and surroundings helped 
> change his outlook on his place within the East versus West framework 
> of international relations. Ben Macintyre expertly weaves stories of 
> spycraft with the human yearning of freedom and paints Gordievsky as 
> not only a double agent but also a defender of democracy. Gordievsky 
> and his assistance to the British intelligence service MI6 proved 
> invaluable during the later stages of the cold war. 
> Meanwhile, Aldrich Ames (the traitor) was the American Central 
> Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer whom the United States ordered to 
> track down the Soviet double agent (Gordievsky) providing the British 
> with intelligence. Unbeknownst to the CIA, Ames was a double agent 
> for the Soviets. Showing all the tell-tale signs of an individual 
> ripe for treason, Ames broke from the fog of his middling career and 
> found his true calling. His wife frivolously spent money they did not 
> have, and he felt the United States owed him a debt it did not pay. 
> Initially, he intended to spy for the Soviets once, but after he 
> realized how easy it was and how much money they would pay him, his 
> thirst was unquenchable. Additionally, Ames's secret agenda was to 
> unmask the double agent providing critical intelligence to the West 
> and expose him to the KGB. The cat and mouse race between Ames and 
> Gordievsky plays out in a concise and eloquent manner. 
> The dance of spying and statecraft reaches its climax during Able 
> Archer 83, a command post exercise carried out in 1983 by the North 
> Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Soviet paranoia about a NATO 
> first strike against the USSR had risen in the previous two years. As 
> head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov initiated Operation Ryan in 1981. Ryan 
> was a far-reaching covert mission aimed at gathering intelligence on 
> NATO and the United States in the hopes of alerting Moscow of 
> imminent nuclear attack. In 1982, when Andropov succeeded Leonid 
> Brezhnev as head of the Soviet Union, Ryan's scope and resources 
> magnified. Once again Macintyre brilliantly weaves fact with suspense 
> in his retelling of how close the West and East came to nuclear war. 
> During Able Archer 83, the Soviets mistook NATO's heightened training 
> exercise as a pretext for a nuclear first strike. Unbeknownst at the 
> time, the Soviets truly believed NATO was preparing for a first 
> strike in a nuclear war and increased their own readiness posture to 
> respond. Soviet bombers and missiles were fueled, armed, and placed 
> on alert to retaliate against a NATO first strike. Once the exercise 
> ended, the Soviets lowered their readiness posture. Only through the 
> intelligence gathered by Gordievsky, which was passed by MI6 to the 
> CIA, did US president Ronald Reagan know how close both sides came to 
> unintended nuclear war. 
> Lastly, Macintyre meticulously recounts Gordievsky's 1985 
> exfiltration from the USSR to the United Kingdom. The plan, codenamed 
> PIMLICO, showcased MI6's expertise as it evaded Soviet capture. 
> Gordievsky was transported in the trunk of a UK diplomatic vehicle 
> while passing through the USSR and Finland. Throughout the journey, 
> military officials and KGB officers looked for their lost 
> intelligence officer but came up empty. The British agents and 
> Gordievsky narrowly evaded capture at multiple points throughout the 
> journey and arrived safely in the UK. 
> The coup de grâce occured once MI6 informed the Soviets that the 
> _rezident_ of London defected. The KGB was shocked and could not 
> believe that was the case. MI6 informed the KGB in order to strike a 
> bargain for the safe return of Gordievsky's family. He gave up the 
> names of every Soviet spy in the UK to MI6. The British informed the 
> Soviets of the situation and struck a bargain. The spies slowly left 
> the country in exchange for Gordievsky's wife and daughters' safe 
> passage to the UK. In 1990 Gordievsky was awarded for his 
> decades-long service to Her Majesty. 
> _The Spy and the Traitor _is a nonstop thriller where the information 
> is almost too good to be true. Macintyre expertly writes in a way 
> that makes reading the book effortless. While Ames and Gordievsky 
> both betrayed their countries, they did it for different reasons. 
> Gordievsky's was ideological while Ames's was purely for money. 
> Macintyre points out that the unmasked spies on both sides were 
> treated differently. Those given up by Ames were most likely rounded 
> up, interrogated, and killed. Meanwhile, those fingered by Gordievsky 
> were given due process and tried. 
> Overall, the book is a must read for anyone who wishes to know more 
> about the Soviet spy who secretly passed intelligence to MI6 and 
> eventually defected to the UK as well as the CIA double agent who 
> hunted him down for the Soviets. 
> Citation: Cole Price. Review of Macintyre, Ben, _The Spy and the 
> Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War_. H-War, H-Net 
> Reviews. November, 2019.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=54469
> This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 
> Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 
> License.

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