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It would be impossible to write a history of the Cold War without mentioning Harry Gold. After all, this compulsive, eccentric chemist was the courier who actually delivered the secrets of the A-Bomb to the Russians. That said, all the books I've read over the past several decades on this period have relegated Gold to relatively insignificant walk-on parts. In some ways, that seemed inevitable: Described by one witness as "a pudgy, nervous little man" and by others as essentially nondescript, he was neither charismatic nor a Communist zealot. In fact, he hadn't sought his mostly non-paying job as a spy carrier and during much of his 15-year (1935-1950) service, he longed for the days when he could lead a normal life. Allen Hornblum's life of Gold presents this mild-mannered science nerd as too vulnerable to fit snuggly into any ideologue's pet stereotype. This stoop-shouldered Jewish immigrant was technically a snitch, but more essentially, he was a hapless pawn in a conspiracy that cost him 15 years of his freedom, a happy life, and quite possibly a marriage. In ways, it's a wonder that 38 years after his death, thanks to this book, we're just being to think of him as human.