The Spy and the Traitor

Virtual & In-Person Available
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
5:30PM
No charge
Reservations Required
Online Virtual & In-Person Available

Patrons may choose to attend this event at the King Library or remotely via a Zoom presentation. For those who prefer to view the event from home, please register for the virtual option. Online participants will be able to access the chat feature within Zoom to participate in the discussion. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join.

Facilitator: Dr. Richard D’Elia

In this book by Ben Macintyre, a 2018 O’Keeffe speaker at The Four Arts, find the thrilling tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Soviet Union’s top man in London who was secretly working for MI6 and helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation’s communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union’s top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States’ nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky’s name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain’s obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.

Unfolding the three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in Gordievsky’s nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre’s latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines overlap between the personal and the professional, and one man’s hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.

 

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