MAVERICK SPY: STALIN’S SUPER-AGENT IN WORLD WAR TWO
(I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury Publishing)
A few years before he died, James MacGibbon told his family that he had spied for the Soviet Union during World War II. Only after his death, when the author, his son Hamish, obtained access to restricted Soviet intelligence records, did the true significance of what James had revealed become clear.
For over three years, from his position at the heart of the Intelligence Corps in the War Office and then in Washington, he provided the Russians with top secret information of immense military and diplomatic value.
The material probably included plans for D-Day, received by Stalin seven months before the Normandy invasion.
After the war ended, James became a priority suspect. He was kept under close surveillance by MI5 for some years: mail and telephone interceptions, a bug inserted in the family home, and tailing by a team of ‘watchers’.
MI5’s highly professional officers eavesdropped on James, his family and friends, recording their day-to-day lives, the demands of James’s fledgling publishing business, and the MacGibbons’ worry that James’s espionage might be revealed.
Despite gruelling interviews by MI5’s top interrogator, he did not confess.
The author explains why his parents, from prosperous, conventional social backgrounds, joined the Communist party, and why James felt obliged to become a Soviet agent.
Laced through the gripping spy story is an engaging portrait of two charismatic young people during the turbulent decades of war and cold war ─ their emotional relationships, and their wide circle of authors, artists and publishers.