The Happy Traitor – Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia – The extraordinary story of George Blake – Simon Kuper
George Blake is one of the last remaining spies of the Cold War, having acted as a double agent for the Soviet Union whilst acting as a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service. He is also one of the least known, the most unrepentant, and whose actions had some of the most devastating consequences for Britain.
In 1961, Blake was sentenced to forty-two years imprisonment for betraying to the KGB all of the Western operations in which he was involved, and the names of hundreds of British agents working behind the Iron Curtain. This was the longest sentence for espionage ever to have been handed down by a British court.
On the surface, Blake was a charming, intelligent and engaging man, and most importantly, a seemingly committed patriot. Underneath, a ruthlessly efficient mole and key player in the infamous 'Berlin Tunnel' operation. This illuminating biography tracks Blake from humble beginnings as a teenage courier for the Dutch underground during the Second World War, to the sensational prison-break from Wormwood Scrubs that inspired Hitchcock to write screenplay.
Through a combination of personal interviews, research and unique access to Stasi records, journalist Simon Kuper unravels who Blake truly was, what he was capable of, and why he did it.