The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq

Title:                      The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq

Author:                 E. H. Cookridge

Cookridge, E. H. (1970) [pseud. for Edward Spiro]. The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq: The Complete Dossier. Princeton, NJ: Vertex [London: Hodder, 1970. George Blake: Double Agent].

LCCN:    74123386

UB271.R92B58 1970


Date Updated:  January 25, 2017

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Published in the UK as Shadow of a Spy, and George Blake: Double Agent.

The life and career of SIS officer and Soviet agent George Blake and the many questions surrounding him have never been adequately tackled. The effort of Cookridge (real name Edward Spiro) does not do the job. An enlarged version of his 1962 book, it is lacking in source notes, unreliable on many central matters, and speculative on others. Foot in SOE in France[2] called the 1962 version’s references to SOE “wild.” The net effect is to confuse what Blake really was, how he got where he did, and why. Cook-ridge’s central thesis, that Blake was a double agent of the British service who finally chose the Soviets, is repeated throughout. Yet he pictures Blake as converting to communism while a prisoner in Korea, before he assumed this double agent role, and offers no evidence to support his claim. He ties in Blake with a variety of other cases, such as that of Czech agent Alfred Frenzel; he is either speculating or wrong. He describes General Gehlen as a senior Abwehr officer and Allen Dulles as the successor to Donovan as head of OSS. He was correct in saying that Blake betrayed the Berlin Tunnel to the Soviets; that fact was admitted years later by CIA retiree Harry Rositzke in his The CIA’s Secret Operations.[3]

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

The full story of George Blake, a double agent who for nine years disclosed British and American secrets to Soviet intelligence and counterintelligence. It is written by a prolific author of intelligence literature, himself a one-time British secret agent who knew George Blake during and after World War II. Spiro traces the early career of Blake through his experiences in World War II with Dutch Resistance as well as his experiences as a prisoner of the Communists during the Korean War.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 133-134

[2] Foot, M.R.D. (1966). SOE In France: An Account of The Work of British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944. London:H.M. Stationery Off

[3] Rositzke, Harry August (1988). CIA’s Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

[4] 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. 182


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2 Responses to The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq

  1. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Counterespionage, Chapter 15 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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