'The Fall of a Titan' by Igor Gouzenko


People who lived through the Cold War will recognize the name, Igor Gouzenko, the cipher clerk in the Russian embassy in Ottawa who defected to the West in 1945. He took with him a ream of documents which showed a huge network of spys throughout the Western alliance. Gouzenko and his family were removed to protective custody in Camp X here in Whitby for a few years, and for many years after, he lived largely in hiding.

This book is a novel about the Soviet system written from an insider perspective. It is at least in part autobiographical and describes the grooming of an ambitious young student, rising through the ranks of a paranoid soviet bureaucracy, trampling others along the way.

Published in 1954, this book presaged most of the spy genre of literature and I expect provided useful background information.

It won the Governor general's award for literature when published.

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