RaveThe Wall Street Journal... fascinating, rich and probing ... Mr. Kuper is very good on the range of intellectual and political factors at play in this ... One of the pleasures of this book is that Mr. Kuper makes no effort to play down episodes like this, in which Blake’s espionage had almost no real impact ... a beguiling and endlessly interesting portrait of one man’s rigid, Panglossian desire to see the best in everything ... No matter how hard Mr. Kuper probes, and his questions are consistently good, he meets a wall of relentless positivity. Long ago, you realize, Blake had learned to avoid asking difficult questions, either of himself or of his KGB handlers. In many ways, the beauty of Spies, Lies, and Exile is the manner in which Blake’s wide-eyed credulity is matched, blow for blow, by Mr. Kuper’s considered skepticism and his ability, at the end, to see through the veneer of self-deception.
Nancy Thorndike Greenspan
MixedThe Wall Street JournalThe latest addition to the Klaus Fuchs bibliography, Atomic Spy, comes from Nancy Thorndike Greenspan and with it the obvious question: Do we need another book on Fuchs? Based on the first part of this book, the answer is yes. Ms. Greenspan gives us fresh and fascinating insights into Fuchs’s formative years ... One gets the niggling sense throughout Atomic Spy that the author is not entirely comfortable delving into Fuchs’s psychological hinterland or into the details of his espionage. But we need to consider both if we are to understand who he was and what he did ... Ms. Greenspan ends her book by asking whether Fuchs was \'evil or good, guilty or innocent, a traitor or a hero.\' But the truth is more prosaic ... It is better to think of Fuchs as a socialist, a scientist and a spy. As with most spies throughout history, once he had started passing on secrets, he found it strangely hard to stop.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalOne of the many strengths of this fluid and constantly captivating book is the wonderful range of voices that Mr. MacGregor has brought together. As well as American soldiers stationed in Berlin, we hear from East German guards, artists, writers, spies, journalists and a handful of successful escapees.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalBill Harvey is the type of character rarely found in fiction—he is that much larger than life—but in Mr. Vogel’s sure hands he becomes plausible and oddly compelling ... This alone might have made for an interesting book, but Mr. Vogel has cleverly combined this story with the life of the man who betrayed this secret to the Russians: the SIS officer, KGB agent and yoga enthusiast George Blake. Although there are other books on Blake, Mr. Vogel’s handling of his tale is original and rewarding ... Meticulously researched and full of vivid detail, Betrayal in Berlin is especially good on the conundrum faced by Blake’s KGB handlers about when and how to reveal the existence of the Anglo-American tunnel.
John Le Carré
RaveThe Wall Street JournalSuperficially at least, this is a tale of one generation passing judgment on another but without understanding the context...This element of the book is undermined slightly by the blunt characterization of the young Circus staff. The new guard is ignorant, disrespectful, brash, overly familiar and full of hubris, so it comes as little surprise when the old-timers start to run rings around them. Yet this does not distract from the novel’s agile examination of its meatier questions: How much collateral damage can be justified by the need to protect a source? What are the implications of our new obsession with historical crime? Mr. le Carré even touches on Brexit, including an eloquent and heartfelt defense of a European identity ... A Legacy of Spies offers, finally, the fascinating spectacle of a talented novelist casting a critical eye over his early masterpiece, marking it for style and moral substance ... Although there are moments when this book does not quite work, and though some readers will simply prefer The Spy or Tinker Tailor, A Legacy of Spies deserves to be seen as a very different literary enterprise. As well as being an inspired feat of plotting, it is the boldest and most inventive Smiley novel to date. It is also a finely wrought examination of one man’s struggle to come to terms with his past.