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An Impeccable Spy

Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent
Written by: Owen Matthews
Narrated by: Mike Grady
Length: 16 hrs and 46 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents An Impeccable Spy by Owen Matthews, read by Mike Grady.  

Richard Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, Sorge became a fanatical communist - and the Soviet Union’s most formidable spy.    

Like many great spies, Sorge was an effortless seducer, combining charm with ruthless manipulation. He did not have to go undercover to find out closely guarded state secrets - his victims willingly shared them. As a foreign correspondent, he infiltrated and influenced the highest echelons of German, Chinese and Japanese society in the years leading up to and including the Second World War. 

His intelligence regarding Operation Barbarossa and Japanese intentions not to invade Siberia in 1941 proved pivotal to the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow, which in turn determined the outcome of the war.    

Never before has Sorge’s story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese. 

Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives - along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge - to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as 'the most formidable spy in history'.

©2019 Owen Matthews (P)2019 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

What the critics say

"A fascinating biography. Owen Matthews tells the story of Sorge’s extraordinary life with tremendous verve and expertise and a real talent for mise en scène. Shanghai in the 1930s and prewar Tokyo, Sorge’s stamping grounds, come vividly alive in these pages and the portrait of Sorge himself that emerges is richly authentic." (William Boyd, New Statesman)

"Gloriously readable. Every chapter of Matthews’s superbly researched biography reads like something from an Eric Ambler thriller." (Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times)

"A superb biography. Alive to Sorge’s human flaws as much as to his professional competence, and with a salutary vein of anger running through it. More than a hundred books have been written about him and this is undoubtedly the best: detailed, wry, sympathetic and occasionally oddly moving." (Ben Macintyre, The Times

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  • reader
  • 2020-06-28

a wonderful book

Even if you have no interest in spying, you'll learn a great deal about World War II events and particularly the perfidy of Stalin and how one man determined the outcome of World War II by discouraging Japan from attacking the USSR in 1941 which would likely have caused the German conquest of Russia and then possibly of the UK too. An enthralling book.

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  • Cynthia
  • 2020-04-24

Lots of Politics

There were more political details than I would have liked, but I really enjoyed the details about his personality.