The Traitors

Title:                  The Traitors

Author:                 Alan Moorehead

Moorehead, Alan (1952). The Traitors: The Double Life of Fuchs, Pontecorvo, and Nunn May. London: Hamish Hamilton

LCCN:    52037153

HD9698.A28 M6 1952


Date Updated:  May 3, 2016

I had the good fortune to be in classes taught by Nigel West while travelling on the Queen Mary II in 2010. One of Nigel’s handouts provided a list of books by large-scale subject material. It also includes a bibliography of West’s books as of 2010. This book is one item in the section, VENONA.

In the 1960s this book was republished, repeating the report repeated from 1952 when this title originally appeared. The book’s interest has not staled even yet. It reports to be “A highly intelligent introduction to the three atomic spies, Allan Nunn May, Klaus Fuchs and Doctor Bruno Pontecervo, which is not just an airing of the facts in their cases – fascinating as they are, but an inquiry into the moral content of their treason, the political climate which prompted it, and the concept of loyalty and freedom such betrayal jeopardized. An exciting interrogation into character and conduct, handled with style and a speculative thoughtfulness.”

I am not convinced that Nunn-May and Pontecervo were KGB agents. The notion that “where there’s smoke there’s fire” is pushing it. Fuchs, no doubt, spied for the KGB. Whether Nunn-May and Pontecervo were agents, or even passed information has never been proven.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]

An account of Soviet atomic espionage of the World War II period with particular emphasis on Klaus Fuchs but also covering Allan Nunn May and Bruno Pontecorvo.

[1] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 113


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