A member of the angry and deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, Sorge became a fanatical communist — and the Soviet Union's most formidable spy. Like many great spies, Sorge was an effortless seducer, combining charm with ruthless manipulation. He did not have to go undercover to find out closely guarded state secrets — his victims willingly shared them.
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As a foreign correspondent, he infiltrated and influenced the highest echelons of German, Chinese and Japanese society in the years leading up to and including the Second World War. His intelligence regarding Operation Barbarossa and Japanese intentions not to invade Siberia in proved pivotal to the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow, which in turn determined the outcome of the war. Never before has Sorge's story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese.
Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives — along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge — to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as 'the most formidable spy in history'. I love a thrilling spy story, especially one as superbly narrated as this, full of Bond-like drama about Sorge's brushes with death, his love of fast cars and women Within a few pages, it is clear that An Impeccable Spy is going to be a very good read It came in a suitcase, sometimes, and at other times it was dropped in two watertight containers from the sky.
An agency known only as The Department wishes to restore its former glory as a player in the spying game. Its leader gets wind that some weaponry may be under development in the East, and finds an old hand to go back out into the field. His job is to report back using the B2 without being rumbled.
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The agent, Fred Leiser, is given some instruction in how to tap out his coded intelligence. Vopos and GDR women in their shabby trouser-suits and coldblooded Stasi—these are his signatures. The Secret Pilgrim began to look backward, with its narrator recalls events that took place in the 60s. Our Game has some Soviet flashback material, but not much. Meanwhile, he developed a strong hand in novels set in former colonies. Whether George Smiley can match up to our deranged political times is another question altogether.
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Smiley was born twice. But in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , his backstory changed to have him recruited in One was Vivian H.
Despite his double past, George Smiley has been himself since the very beginning. And although both of his lifespans see him come of age at the height of the Cold War, his appeal as a character has always stemmed from an elusive personality. Inconspicuousness is key to the Smiley effect. He is not physically imposing. He listens extraordinarily well.
He has thick glasses. He melts away in the crowd. Smiley is the inverse of James Bond. His power is intellectual. But he is also a humiliated figure. Guinevere-like, she is the one who commits adultery at will—not George.
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And Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is also, in a way, a novel of humiliation. That recursive plot of betrayal within betrayal is set against the Cold War, yes. But it is not about the Cold War.
It is a novel about human beings, particularly the odd and quiet power of one bespectacled man in intelligence. Humming alongside the emotional and technical minutiae of his novels is usually a biting social satire.
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The British intelligence service, dominated by aristocrats, provided him with an especially rich subject. Although George Smiley solves the mystery, it is a detective rather than an espionage novel. But whodunit? Suspicion falls on a housemaster named Fielding.
He has Smiley over for dinner one night. He is one type: the teacher with an eye for the pupil.