Hut's Place
 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

August 11, 2019

True-Life Spy Story Sheds Light on Heroic Double Agent's Cold War Influence
The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre. Historian and author Macintyre has made a career out of bringing 20th-century spies to life with books like A Spy Among Friends, Double Cross, and Rogue Heroes . His latest, now in paperback, recounts the amazing tale of Oleg Gordievsky, a Russian agent whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.
If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated spy grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots. His identity was a tightly held secret until a CIA operative named Aldrich Ames  - himself a double agent - gave Gordievsky up to the Russians. That led to ... well, I'll let you read for yourself. 
Here's one spoiler. Among the many sources Macintyre tapped for his research was Gordievsky himself, 79 at the time and, in the author's words, "proud, shrewd and irascible." The result is a first rate non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage. 
New Poet Laureate Delivers with Her Latest Collection
An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo. Renowned poet Harjo was appointed t he 23rd United States poet laureate in June 2019, becoming the first Native American Po e t Laureate in the history of the position. An Oklahom an and member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she describes poetry a s "an immense conversation of the soul." As t o her own work, Harjo said in a recent NPR interview that she's driven by "justice and healing and transformation: The idea that you can ... transform the images of our people from being non-human to human beings, and the ability to transform experiences that could potentially destroy a people, a family, a person to experiences that build connection and community."
Harjo has written eight books of poetry, including Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human, and the American Book Award-winning In Mad Love and War. In her latest, just published this month, she returns to the land of her ancestors with poems deeply rooted in tribal and family experiences, nature, land, and tradition.  
Described by the Los Angeles Review of Books as "one of our finest - and most complicated - poets," the newly anointed Poet Laureate continues her legacy with this latest collection.  

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Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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