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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary true story, often stranger than fiction
I had heard of George Blake and knew at least that he had a dramatic escape from prison, but was surprised at how much richer his story is, encompassing World War II dramas and a Korean 'death march' as well as the well-known espionage. The author does an excellent job of focusing on the interesting stuff and is quite fair on Blake: he acknowledges the harm he did to the...
Published 17 months ago by A reader

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
This is a good read. If you know little about George Blake then you will enjoy this book which is well put together and is well written.

If you know anything at all about Blake then this treads a well-worn path that reveals little new and doesn't have any great depth of research. We have read the majority of it elsewhere, which is okay, though it is easy to...
Published 16 months ago by Stephen Dorril


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary true story, often stranger than fiction, 26 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
I had heard of George Blake and knew at least that he had a dramatic escape from prison, but was surprised at how much richer his story is, encompassing World War II dramas and a Korean 'death march' as well as the well-known espionage. The author does an excellent job of focusing on the interesting stuff and is quite fair on Blake: he acknowledges the harm he did to the British (and Americans) but seems to accept that Blake had his own set of values.

Overall, a really enjoyable account of an amazing life, and one that is still being lived. It would be fascinating to know what Blake himself, still alive in Moscow, would make of this excellent book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake, 21 May 2013
This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
What really impressed me about this book was the writer's use of previously written works about the subject seamlessly merged with his own meticulous research. Blake's early life on the continent during WW11 and subsequently in Korea where he was taken prisoner just after the outbreak of hostilities there offers a fascinating insight into the moulding of the man's political leanings. He saw in communism ideological similarities with his Calvinist upbringing in Holland and was convinced he was correct in doing what he did to hasten the dawning of a Utopian era which he viewed as being the only way society should function. He acknowledged but turned a blind eye to the excesses of the communist regime in the Soviet Union but readily embraced the changes that came about gradually after the death of Stalin. This book is a must read for anyone with even a passing interest in espionage and reads very novel like in its's approach to post war life in Europe's spy capital Berlin and beyond. It was almost to easy for Blake to escape from Wormwood Scrubs and reach East Berlin but again the author goes into great detail about life in the prison and the characters Blake met with. I could not put this book down a cracking fast paced read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, 10 April 2013
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Stephen Dorril (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
This is a good read. If you know little about George Blake then you will enjoy this book which is well put together and is well written.

If you know anything at all about Blake then this treads a well-worn path that reveals little new and doesn't have any great depth of research. We have read the majority of it elsewhere, which is okay, though it is easy to spot the sources, but there really should have been more. Blake's period in MI6 is pretty thin and doesn't take into account some of the Soviet material (good on Korea) and the chunk on the escape from prison is too long. But overall an enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE LIFE OF GEORGE BLAKE, 13 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
Only knowing about the infamous escape from Wormwood Scrubs in the 1960's,the res of the story about George Blake was a revealation. The book covers in an objective manner, the rise and fall of George Blake, and the reasons he took such as a momentous step to spy for the KGB at the expense of his 'home' country, the United Kingdom. Roger Hermiston quotes exactly from George Blake why he took this momentous step. The book was good because it was factual, it left the reader to make the interpretations of the events, and come to their own conclusions about the affair. This book was well written and did not enter into difficult discussions about ideologies, and the reasons for spying.
Good and entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A spotlight on an often forgotten Cold War spy scandal, 11 Aug 2014
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This book is a real page-turner. Well written and well researched it shines a light not only on the murky world of MI6 and international spying, but also on some largely forgotten bits of 20th century history in the Korean War. It also paints a good picture of post war Europe and has a good vignette of late 1950s Lebannon. I would thoroughly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb telling of the Blake story., 1 Jun 2014
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Alexander McKay (Edinburgh UK) - See all my reviews
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Terrific book. It reads at times like a Le Carre thriller but it is at the same time scholarly and painstakingly fair and accurate. I loved it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An astute insight in to the character and motivation of George Blake, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
A detailed and I believe accurate account of a complex outsider who was labelled the most dangerous traitor of the 20th century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down., 16 July 2013
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This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
I am not a war book reader but I found this book hard to put down, yes its a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Traitor, 25 May 2013
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This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
This is an extremely interesting account of the circumstances that turn a loyal citizen into a traitor. It is fascinating to read about the brutal treatment that George Blake and other POWs suffered at the hands of the communist North Korean regime during the Korean war and how, in spite of all that, he decided to become a communist himself, taking advantage of the post he held with MI 6 in Berlin to become a double agent and to pass on military secrets of the western military powers. Psychologically fascinating and very readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a fiction book, 23 May 2013
This review is from: The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake (Hardcover)
It has been a long time since I read a book cover to cover in one sitting, but this is exactly what happened when I read The Greatest Traitor by Roger Hermiston. This non-fiction books embeds the reader in the life of George Blake, a fascinating character from a complicated background who was at most of the major geo-political events of the mid 20th Century and, as it happened, was influencing many of them in sinister ways. The George Blake story is well known and documented, but Hermiston captures the story of the man and the era and in doing so delivers a page turner to match any work of fiction.
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The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake
The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake by Roger Hermiston (Hardcover - 4 April 2013)
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