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The Happy Traitor


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A 'humane and informative' (according to John Le Carre) 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.

About the Author

Simon Kuper is a British author and columnist 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 and attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. He has written for Observer, the Times and Guardian. His previous books include Soccernomics, Soccer Men, and Ajax, the Dutch, the War. He lives in Paris with his family.


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

'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 Carre

'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

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