Ben Macintyre (Chair) has written a weekly column in The Times since 1998 on history, espionage, art, politics and foreign affairs. He is the author of eight non-fiction history books, including the bestselling A Foreign Field (2001) and Agent Zigzag (2007) which was short-listed for the Costa Biography of the Year Award and the National Book Awards, and has recently been optioned by New Line Cinema. His most recent book, Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that changed the course of World War II reached number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list and has sold more than 400,00 copies worldwide.
The Spy and the Traitor
On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever.
Judges’ comment: “Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and the Traitor is a yarn of derring do up there with the best of thrillers. But as a history of the past half-century it also feels extraordinarily contemporary. Everything Macintyre describes could happen today.”