An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent Review

The thrilling true story of Richard Sorge - the man John le Carré called 'the spy to end spies', and whose actions turned the tide of the Second World War

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'.

Title:An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent

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    An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent Reviews

  • Mal Warwick

    Who was the greatest spy of the twentieth century?Was it Kim Philby (1912-88), who served Moscow for three decades? Philby’s revelations led to the execution of numberless British and American agent...

  • Paul

    An absorbing, easy read packed with previously unknown information. Sorge (pronounced Zorgae, as the author told a recent talk) was a fanatical Communist, a hard drinking, womaniser who took crazy ris...

  • Oliver

    The first few hundred pages I found were hard reading but eventually once I got my head around the multiple names and plans I enjoyed this book. It wasn't as 'unputdownable' as a Ben Macintyre book bu...

  • Denise

    While I'd come across Richard Sorge's name in one of the many things I've watched and read about (in-)famous spies, I knew very little about his actual exploits. Detailed and informative, this biograp...

  • Steven Z.

    As early as April 1941 British intelligence informed Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin of German intentions to discard the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 and invade Russia. Stalin seemed to ignore those ...

  • Liviu

    An excellent biography of the famous soviet spy - read quite a few of them from the (hagiographic but still entertaining ) Russian ones almost four decades ago to more recent western ones and this one...

  • Roger Mattson

    Excellent book, unique character, we’ll written. It is good to have the truth told lest Sorge be lost to history. I have great empathy for Matthews’s multilingual research. I share the same strugg...

  • Arthur

    Brilliantly narrated book - the author is tied with Robert Massie for best historical non fiction prose that I have readThe book zooms in and out easily between the day-to-day of Sorge's dramatic life...

  • David Wasley

    How a charming, ruthless risk taker hoodwinked the intelligence services of Germany, China and Japan and obtained stupendous confidential information. This book is packed with names and details. I did...

  • Peter Grimbeek

    It is a wonder that Richard Sorge survived working as a Soviet spy, both in Germany and Japan, as long as he did. The book makes the case that one would have to be mad in the way that he was to have d...