Stalin's Spy: Richard Sorge and the Tokyo Espionage Ring

Overview

This is the true story of a remarkable man who pulled off a seemingly impossible espionage mission in Tokyo, before and during World War II. Richard Sorge, born to a Russian mother and a German father, ran a network of Japanese and Europeans under the noses of Japan's dreaded secret police. From 1933 until he was caught in late 1941, he transmitted priceless secrets to Red Army intelligence. Sorge's espionage group — perhaps the most successful operating in this critical period - kept the Russians informed about ...

See more details below
Paperback (Second Edition)
$16.29
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$22.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $11.89   
  • New (8) from $16.65   
  • Used (4) from $11.89   
Sending request ...

Overview

This is the true story of a remarkable man who pulled off a seemingly impossible espionage mission in Tokyo, before and during World War II. Richard Sorge, born to a Russian mother and a German father, ran a network of Japanese and Europeans under the noses of Japan's dreaded secret police. From 1933 until he was caught in late 1941, he transmitted priceless secrets to Red Army intelligence. Sorge's espionage group — perhaps the most successful operating in this critical period - kept the Russians informed about Japanese and German intentions, and also helped influence decisions made by these governments.Sorge's biggest coup was to inform Stalin of the German attack on Russia in 1941, weeks before it occurred — with details of troop deployments, movement of armaments and the actual date of the attack. Abandoned to his fate by Stalin, Sorge became the first European sentenced to death by a Japanese court. After a prolonged ordeal he was executed in Sugamo prison in 1944.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The most careful assessment to date of one of the most successful spy rings ever…a judicious and often gripping account."—Kirkus Reviews

"Enthralling."—London Review of Books

"As readable as a first-rate thriller...Whymant tells the story extremely skillfully, combining amusing detail of everyday life and erotica, with the tale of the problems of the greatest strategic and intelligence importance."—Times Literary Supplement

"In his penetrating biography, Robert Whymant delves into the nether regions of human betrayal."—The Observer

'As well researched as possible and yet as readable as a first-rate thriller.' Oleg Gordievsky, Times Literary Supplement
'This is a gripping story and very well told. Whymant's new material deepens understanding and advances knowledge…a very readable book.' M.R.D. Foot

'Kim Philby several times expressed to me his admiration of Sorge. He felt Sorge was the only secret agent beyond reproach.' Philip Knightley

'In his penetrating biography, Robert Whymant, delves into the nether regions of human betrayal to recover the man from the myth.' Kevin Toolis, The Observer

'An enthralling new account' Murray Sayle, London Review of Books

'This gripping account of Sorge's Tokyo spy ring by Robert Whymant draws on recently released Russian archives to add much new material to an important bit of Japan's wartime history.' William Dawkins, Financial Times

Library Journal
Richard Sorge, the quintessential Soviet master espionage agent, assembled a spy ring in Japan from 1933 to 1941. The Tokyo Espionage Ring had access to the highest levels of the German and Japanese governments and was able to transmit invaluable information about Axis military and diplomatic initiatives around the world, especially those perceived as having an impact on the Soviet Union. Sorge's brilliant information-gathering expertise was not always appreciated by his Moscow handlers, including Stalin himself. Whymant captures Sorge's human side: his weaknesses for women and alcohol and his pervasive loneliness. Sorge's stubborn hope that Moscow would intervene to save him from execution by the Japanese because of his loyalty to the Soviet cause is both poignant and pathetic, given the Soviet policy of refusing to acknowledge its spy networks. This may be compared with Gordon W. Prange's Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring (LJ 9/1/84), which has a more authoritative historian's style, albeit a lively one. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.--Stephen W. Green, Auraria Lib., Denver
Kirkus Reviews
The most careful assessment to date of one of the most successful spy rings ever. The career of Richard Sorge, the son of a German father and a Russian mother, was filled with paradox. He fought bravely in the German army during the First World War and was wounded three times. He became a committed communist after the war, but his wounds served to inoculate him from the suspicions of the German officers among whom he worked as a journalist in Tokyo from 1933 to 1941. His Soviet spy ring, using both Japanese and Germans, was often better informed than the German Embassy, which leaned heavily on his expertise, the ambassador even allowing him to use the embassy code books. He warned the Soviet Union of the impending German attack, almost to the day, only to have his warning regarded by Stalin as a provocation. He was almost ludicrously indiscreet in his conversation, was frequently drunk, and even seduced the ambassador's wife, but the sheer recklessness of his conduct served somehow to insulate him from suspicion. And when he was finally caught, the Soviets allowed their most successful spy to be hanged rather than save someone who knew the full extent of Stalin's blunder. This account, by the Tokyo correspondent of the Times of London, is the first to use both the Russian Defense Ministry and KGB files, German diplomatic archives, and Japanese and German memoirs and official records, even including the account of his career written by Sorge in prison. Whymant believes that Sorge's information made it safe for the Soviets to transfer their troops from the Japanese to the German front, and hence stem the tide at last. Hence the final paradox that, by helping to stop Hitler, his greatestservice may have been to the West. A judicious and often gripping account of a spy who, in his own words, penetrated the hard shell of Japanese society, and found that it was soft inside. .
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845113100
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.67 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Whymant covered East Asia for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph from 1972 to 1993 when he became Tokyo Correspondent of The Times. Whymant was tragically killed in the 2004 tsunami while on holiday in Sri Lanka.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I: Child and Soldier
• Student and Revolutionary
• Moscow, 1924-29
• Shanghai Days
• 'Tokyo Wouldn't Be Bad
• Part II: 'A Man of Consequence'
• The Ring Takes Shape
• Moscow, Summer 1935
• 'It's Hard Here, Really Hard'
• Part III: Winter and Spring 1941
• May 1941
• June1941
• July1941
• August 1941
• September 1941
• October 1941
• Part IV: Paying the Price
• Epilogue A Hero's Grave
• Notes, Bibliography, Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)