The gripping biography of a notorious Cold War villain--the German-born British scientist who handed the Soviets top-secret American plans for the plutonium bomb--showing a man torn between conventional loyalties and a sense of obligation to a greater good.

German by birth, British by naturalization, Communist by conviction, Klaus Fuchs was a fearless Nazi resister, a brilliant scientist, and a highly effective spy. He was convicted of espionage by Britain in 1950 for handing over the designs of the plutonium bomb to the Russians, and has gone down in history as one of the most dangerous espionage agents in American and British history. He put an end to America's nuclear hegemony and single-handedly heated up the Cold War. But, was Klaus Fuchs really evil?

Using archives long hidden in Germany as well as intimate correspondence, Nancy Thorndike Greenspan brings into sharp focus the moral and political ambiguity of the times in which Fuchs lived and the ideals with which he struggled. As a university student in Germany, he stood up to Nazi terror without flinching, and joined the Communists largely because they were the only ones resisting the Nazis. After escaping to Britain, he was arrested as a German émigré--an "enemy alien"--and sent to an internment camp in Canada. His mentor at university, Max Born, worked to facilitate his release. After years of struggle and ideological conflict, when he joined the atomic bomb project as a physicist, his loyalties were firmly split. He started handing over research to the Soviets in 1941, and continued for years as his work took him to Manhattan and Los Alamos. He was motivated partly because of his Communist convictions but seemingly also to level the playing field of the world powers.

With thrilling detail from never-before-seen archives, Atomic Spy places readers in the Germany of an ascendant Nazi party; the British university classroom of Max Born; a British internment camp in Canada; the secret laboratories of Los Alamos; and Eastern Germany at the height of the Cold War. Atomic Spy shows the real Klaus Fuchs--who he was, what he did, why he did it, and how he was caught. His extraordinary life is a cautionary tale about the ambiguity of morality and loyalty, as pertinent today as in the 1950s.
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