Stories of our century: “The spy who came in from the cold”

This programme is part of the series Stories of Our Century
Berlin Wall, Niederkirchnerstraße, Berlin 1988 (© Wikimedia Commons)

In 1999, Radio Netherlands marked the end of the millenium with a series of 12 programmes telling the story of the 20th century through famous books. In each programme, a guest speaker gives us the historical background behind the story in the book and tells us about the actual events that inspired it.

“The spy who came in from the cold” is a classic Cold War spy thriller, written by master espionage novelist John le Carré (1931-2020). Published in 1963, only a short time after the construction of the Berlin Wall, the story is set in Britain and in East Germany and tells a very gray and murky tale of the cynical duplicity on both sides of the Iron Curtain in an age of tension, paranoia and betrayal.

Our guest speaker is the eminent American historian John Lewis Gaddis of Yale University, called “the dean of Cold War historians” and author of a number of standard award-winning books on the Cold War.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast: 1999

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