|Print List Price:||$18.00|
Save $5.01 (28%)
Random House LLC
Price set by seller.
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Alexander Allan Foote is one of the most important, but also one of the most enduringly mysterious, figures in modern espionage history.
As head of the Indochinese Communist Party, he had been in regular communication with Noulens and was sentenced to two years in prison by the Hong Kong Military Tribunal. After his release in 1933, Qu·ªëc went on to become the architect of Vietnam's independence movement, prime minister, and leader of the Vietcong during the Vietnam War. He is better known as Ho Chi Minh.
Fuchs's transfer of scientific secrets to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1943 was one of the most concentrated spy hauls in history, some 570 pages of copied reports, calculations, drawings, formulae and diagrams, the designs for uranium enrichment, a step-by-step guide to the fast-moving development of the atomic weapon.
Follow the Author
Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy Kindle Edition
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
“Macintyre is fastidious about tradecraft details. . . . [He] has become the preeminent popular chronicler of British intelligence history because he understands the essence of the business.”—David Ignatius, The Washington Post
“Macintyre writes with novelistic flair.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Macintyre is a superb writer, with an eye for the telling detail as fine as any novelist’s.”—The Dallas Morning News
“Macintyre is one of the most gifted espionage writers around.”—Annie Jacobsen, author of Area 51 and Operation Paperclip
“Macintyre writes with the diligence and insight of a journalist, and the panache of a born storyteller.”—John Banville, The Guardian (UK)
“With Macintyre in charge, you’re virtually guaranteed a history book that reads like a spy novel.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A scrupulous and insightful writer—a master historian.”—Alan Furst, author of Mission to Paris
“Macintyre is a master at leading the reader down some very tortuous paths while ensuring they never lose their bearings.”—Evening Standard (UK)
“Macintyre . . . has that enviable gift, the inability to write a dull sentence.”—The Spectator (UK)
About the Author
- ASIN : B085BWLNR2
- Publisher : Crown (September 15, 2020)
- Publication date : September 15, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 47584 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 408 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #20,830 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
plastic bags. The first page on chapter 10. I believe plastic bags were introduced for mass consumer consumption decades after the supposed time of this particular event.
Ursula Kuczynski was a member of a prominent and wealthy German Jewish family active in Berlin's intellectual and artistic circles. In her childhood she lived through Germany's defeat in World War I, and as a teenager she witnessed the mounting tensions and rising anti-Semitism that led to the fall of the Weimar Republic and its replacement with Hitler's Third Reich. Like many in her generation Ursula became a Communist, not so much for ideological reasons as because she saw the Soviet Union as the strongest enemy of Fascism. Helped by her family's left-wing connections, Ursula journeyed to the Soviet Union, was recruited as a spy by Stalin's many-tentacled intelligence services, and spent years in Shanghai, Mukden, Moscow, Switzerland, and eventually rural England on various espionage assignments using the code name Sonya. Along the way she had a passionate affair with another Soviet spy, Richard Sorge, married or lived with three different men by whom she had three children, and jumped from one hair raising adventure to another. Her sex was an asset, since the Soviet and other intelligence services with whom she dealt were all highly male chauvinistic, and she was able to fly under the radar for many years, seeming to be nothing more than a nice normal wife and mother. Her most important contribution to the Soviet espionage effort was her connection with the physicist Klaus Fuchs, who passed an enormous amount of information on British and American efforts to build an atomic bomb through her to the Kremlin. Eventually, after Fuchs was exposed and arrested, Ursula and her family escaped to East Germany, where she lived for most of the rest of her life.
Ursula's story seems too incredible even for the pages of a Fleming or Deighton spy thriller, but it all really happened, making Macintyre's extensively documented tale just as riveting as any James Bond adventure. If after reading Agent Sonya you are hungry for more such tales, I can recommend any of Macintyre's books, most especially A Spy Among Friends, which is about Kim Philby, another Soviet spy with whom Ursula had an indirect connection.
Macintyre includes detailed end notes for each chapter. He provides photos of Ursula, her family, handlers and assets. At times, the author uses conversations which lends this work a tone of fiction. This reviewer found the details of all Ursula's assets, contacts, family members and MI5 interrogators, over done and tedious. Though Ursula detested the Non-Aggression Pact Russia signed with Germany and was horrified by Stalin's murderous purges, she remained a true naive believer in communism. The book is worth reading because it includes both the tactics of a master spy as well as the history of the rise and fall of communism.
Top reviews from other countries
In this book, I actually found the political background more interesting than the main espionage aspects of the history. In this political respect, the book tells the sad story of a woman’s descent from praiseworthy idealism to her becoming a spy, and an apologist, for Stalin’s tyrannical regime in Russia.
Like the more famous Kim Philby, Ursula Kuczynski (Agent Sonya) was motivated by political principles. She genuinely believed that by spying for the USSR she was advancing the cause of a fairer and more peaceful world. Like many others in the 1920s and 1930s she could see that capitalism was a system based on exploitation and inequality, a system which was dragging the world into economic crisis and war, and a system which was giving birth to the monstrosity of fascism. (We see similar developments today.)
It is understandable that in the early 1920s “Sonya” should be inspired by Russia. The 1917 Russian Revolution, led by Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks, had been a genuine workers’ revolution, with working people exercising power through the “soviets” (elected workers’ councils). She also saw that the communists were the most determined opponents of fascism.
But by the late 1920s, before Kuczynski started to spy for the Russian GRU, the gains and democracy of the revolution had been destroyed by Stalin and the bureaucratic ruling class that had usurped power and turned Russia into a state capitalist tyranny.
Sonya’s tragedy is that she dedicated her life to a totalitarian state which called itself socialist, but which was just as exploitative a system as the one in the West. Perhaps there was some excuse at first for her being unaware of the true nature of the USSR, but she stuck loyally by the Stalinist regime even when its crimes could not be ignored, right through Stalin’s purges and mass murder, and right up until the eventual collapse of the state capitalist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe. (China’s, Cuba’s and North Korea’s state capitalist rulers still falsely claim to be “communist”.)
Genuine Marxists had long been advocating the slogan of “Neither Washington Nor Moscow But International Socialism”, and pointing out that “The Free World is not really free and the Communist World is not really communist”. But there was none of that for Kuczynski: she remained a loyal Stalinist.
By sticking to the main story of Kuczinski's life as it was outlined in "Sonjas Report", Macintyre wastes too much space on the Chinese adventures of this diehard communist compared to her activities in England, where her basic actions - apart from being the operator of an illegal radio - seem to have been bicycling across Oxfordshire. The suspicions against Roger Hollis are treated rather summarily, but that is hardly surprising since MI5 is generally - with few exceptions- presented as a bunch of bungling incompetents.
There are almost a hundred files the Kuczinskis in the Stasi archives in Berlin. Surely it should have been possible to present a fuller picture of "Sonjas" life in East Germany after she returned in 1950.
All in all this book presents a far too positive picture of this diehard Stalinist, who remained one until well after the wall had been torn down.
Ursula was born into a middle-class German Jewish family in Berlin. She joined the Communist Party in the 1920s, participating in street battles with the police. For the first two decades of her work as an agent of Soviet military intelligence (the GRU) she devoted herself to the struggle against fascism. She served the cause in China, Poland, Switzerland and finally in a small village in Oxfordshire, where she was known as "Mrs Burton". During her time in Switzerland, she plotted with other agents to kill Hitler. It was a good plan and might have worked, but was scuppered by the Hitler-Stalin pact. She was never caught, and eventually fled with her children to East Germany where she died in 2000.
Though she remained a Stalinist her entire life, and was bitterly disappointed when the German Democratic Republic came to an end, there is much to be admired in her work, especially in the early years.
Ben MacIntyre is a brilliant writer and tells Ursula's story with compassion and understanding. He does not minimise the horrors of the Stalin regime (Ursula's first husband, also a Soviet spy, spent years in the Gulag).
After reading this book, I wonder why I ever bother to read espionage fiction. The real thing is so much better.