Comrade Jim: The Spy Who Played for Spartak by Jim Riordan - review by Phillip Knightley

Phillip Knightley

The Socialist at Centre-Half

Comrade Jim: The Spy Who Played for Spartak


Fourth Estate 272pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

This charming book encompasses all those elements that help make a modern bestseller – espionage, treachery, class warfare, politics, celebrity, drink, nostalgia and … football.

Jim Riordan is Professor Emeritus in Russian Studies at the University of Surrey. He is also a novelist, a writer of children’s books, a translator, and a graduate of the Higher Party School in Moscow, where the Soviet authorities trained carefully selected Communists for their mission to take over the world.

But he is also a graduate of the British Joint Services School for Linguists, where as a National Serviceman he trained to eavesdrop on Soviet pilots flying missions in East Germany during the height of the Cold War. This is the basis for his publisher’s exaggerated claim that he was

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