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In one of several intelligence coups, Sorge told Stalin of the planned German invasion of the Soviet Union--intelligence that the Soviet leader disbelieved and disregarded. Later in the same year he reported, via the network's clandestine transmitter, that the Japanese had decided against attacking Siberia. Sorge's prediction that Japan had opted for war with America and Britain, rather than with the Soviet Union, enabled Stalin to concentrate on saving Moscow from the German advance--and thus contributed significantly to the defeat of Nazism. Ultimately abandoned to his fate by Stalin, Sorge became the first European to be sentenced to death by a Japanese court. After a prolonged ordeal, he was executed in Sugamo prison in 1944.
Using hitherto unpublished Russian papers, as well as the testimony of Japanese and German contemporaries, Robert Whymant brings to life one of the great spy dramas of this century. More compelling than any spy fiction, Whymant's book is the fullest account to date of Sorge's extraordinary life, and reveals the extent to which a series of passionate sexual liaisons, along with his mesmerizing hold over people, played a central part in Sorge's career as a spy.