True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy

Kati Marton. Simon & Schuster, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6376-7
With thorough research and stylistic verve, Marton (Paris: A Love Story), a veteran journalist and popular historian, relates the tragic tale of Noel Haviland Field (1904–1970), the scion of a well-off Quaker family who attended Harvard, began a successful career at the State Department, and become a spy for the Soviet Union. After recruiting family members to join him in this work, Field fled the U.S. when he was exposed by Whittaker Chambers. He then fell under Soviet suspicion because of his brief work for the OSS (forerunner to the CIA) during WWII and support for some anti-Stalinist communist dissidents. Lured to Prague under false pretenses, Field was arrested by Stalinist agents, tortured, and held in solitary confinement in Budapest for five years. Yet even when freed, Field defended the repressive government that followed the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. In his last years, Field edited an obscure Hungarian literary magazine where he informed on colleagues, remained a loyal apparatchik even after Khrushchev denounced Stalin, and died in obscurity. Marton, whose Hungarian journalist parents scored the only interview Field and his wife ever gave to the Western press, tells Field’s story beautifully, reminding readers of the potential horrors of well-meaning but unquestioning idealism. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-6378-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-2237-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4767-6377-4
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