Jeremy Duns has written an intriguing and gripping account of the mysterious Soviet spy Oleg Penkovsky and the part he played in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Penkovsky was, it was claimed, the only person able to see into the mind of Nikita Khrushchev, and to realise that the Society Union was not as militarily strong as was claimed, and the threats against the West were, to a large extent, bluff.
At this remove, some of the incidents in the "spying game" look both amateurish and comical, but the results could be potentially lethal. John Le Carre based part of his now classic cold war novels "FromThe Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and "The Russia House" on the Penkovsky case.
For those who were too young to remember the politics of the 60's, or who wish to refresh their memories, I can only recommend this book. It leave the reader with the question did Penkovsky try to avert a nuclear war, or in fact attempt to start one in order to take down the Soviet Union, which he had betrayed? In any event, he paid the ultimate price.
An excellent read, and much for reading groups too.