B12 Solipsism

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Papa Hemingway as a KGB dilettante

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Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB

Last week, however, saw the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press), which reveals the Nobel prize-winning novelist was for a while on the KGB’s list of its agents in America. Co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, the book is based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 1990s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow.

Its section on the author’s secret life as a “dilettante spy” draws on his KGB file in saying he was recruited in 1941 before making a trip to China, given the cover name “Argo”, and “repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us” when he met Soviet agents in Havana and London in the 40s. However, he failed to “give us any political information” and was never “verified in practical work”, so contacts with Argo had ceased by the end of the decade. Was he only ever a pseudo-spook, possibly seeing his clandestine dealings as potential literary material, or a genuine but hopelessly ineffective one?

[Click to continue reading Hemingway revealed as failed KGB spy – guardian.co.uk ]

So the inventor of the Papa Doble was a dilettante spy? What exactly does that mean? Curious. And of course, The Soviet Union was an ally against Hitler in this era. But I expect more will be made of this in upcoming months.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 9th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , , ,

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