The Happy Traitor (Hardback)

Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia: The Extraordinary Story of George Blake

Simon Kuper

A 'humane and informative' (according to John Le Carré) biography of George Blake, the most notorious double agent in British history. The Happy Traitor is the work of many years' writing, research and unparalleled access, but was embargoed until Blake's death in Moscow in December 2020.

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

'A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.' Philippe Sands

Those people who were betrayed
were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It's all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I'd invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea.

George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant.

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.

Publication date: 04/02/2021

£14.99

ISBN: 9781781259375

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Biography & Memoir

The Happy Traitor (Ebook)

Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia: The Extraordinary Story of George Blake

Simon Kuper

A 'humane and informative' (according to John Le Carré) biography of George Blake, the most notorious double agent in British history. The Happy Traitor is the work of many years' writing, research and unparalleled access, but was embargoed until Blake's death in Moscow in December 2020.

'A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.' Philippe Sands

Those people who were betrayed
were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It's all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I'd invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea.

George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant.

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.

Publication date: 04/02/2021

£8.99

ISBN: 9781782833987

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B07G5KSXCR

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Biography & Memoir

The Happy Traitor (Paperback)

Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia: The Extraordinary Story of George Blake

Simon Kuper

A 'humane and informative' (according to John Le Carré) biography of George Blake, the most notorious double agent in British history. The Happy Traitor is the work of many years' writing, research and unparalleled access, but was embargoed until Blake's death in Moscow in December 2020.

'A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.' Philippe Sands

Those people who were betrayed
were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It's all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I'd invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea.

George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant.

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.

Publication date: 02/09/2021

£8.99

ISBN: 9781781259382

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Biography & Memoir

Reviews for The Happy Traitor

'The most comprehensive and insightful biography [of George Blake] to date'

Ben Macintyre Times

'Kuper provides a different and valuable perspective, humane and informative. If the definition of a psychopath is someone who refuses to accept the consequences of his actions, does George fit the definition? There he sits, admitting it was all for nothing, but has no regrets. Or does he?'

John Le Carré 

'Truly enthralling, gets under the skin, gives us a more nuanced sense of who Mr Blake - or is it Comrade Blake? - really was and what, if anything, actually motivated him. It's a deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.'

Philippe Sands 

'A beguiling and endlessly interesting portrait of one man's rigid, Panglossian desire to see the best in everything ... 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'

Henry Hemming WSJ

Simon Kuper

Simon Kuper

Simon Kuper is a British author and journalist for the Financial Times. Kuper was born in Uganda of South African parents in 1969, and moved to the Netherlands as a child. He studied History and German at Oxford University, and attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. He has written for the Observer, The Times and the Guardian, and also writes regularly for Dutch newspapers. He lives in Paris with his family.