There are few turncoat spies more infamous than George Blake, an MI6 agent who spied for the Soviet Union in the 1950s, was later caught, convicted and sentenced to 42 years in prison. There are even fewer to manage to escape prison and flee to the East to live a life of relative happiness and satisfaction.
This story is masterfully told in the new book, “The Happy Traitor: Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia: The Extraordinary Story of George Blake,” authored by the Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper. Simon joined the Departures podcast for a discussion with Robert Amsterdam about Blake’s fascinating life, his dramatic escape as a prisoner of war in North Korea and also his escape from prison in Britain.
With unprecedented access to Blake including the last major extended interview he gave, Kuper’s book is an exploration of the life of one of the more fascinating character’s in Cold War history, how he came to reach the momentous decisions in his career and how he managed to never look back with any sort of regret for the path he chose.