#18 – Handbook For Spies, Alexander Foote BOOK REVIEW

February 10, 2018

My hatred for all things communist is hardly a secret. Communism doesn’t belong in the category of “political theory”. At best it’s an ideology, at worst it’s a personality disorder. I’m inclined towards the Dennis Wheatley view, that it is Satan at work on the earth [1]. I find it absolutely unbelievable that anyone could observe the people who practice communism, read the theory of communism, and observe the results of communism and come away with any conclusion other than it being a pure distillation of evil [2].

Handbook for Spies by Alexander Foote

I’ve been here

What Alexander Foote’s book Handbook For Spies makes quiet clear is one of the central ironies of communism: they are far harsher on their own followers than on their enemies. They are constantly on the edge of betrayal and purging. For a light-hearted introduction, watch this:

At it’s core, communism is a struggle for faked moral purity. This is why it also collapses into every decreasing circles of virtue signalling and sectarianism. People are drawn to communism by a chance to feel morally superior to everyone else, as a justification to lord over them and to steal all their stuff. It’s no surprise that the most enthusiastic followers of the evil ideology are mid-wit university students studying bullshit degrees. Such people have all the necessary qualities to be a communist:

  1. Totally disconnected from reality
  2. Smart enough to feel superior but lacking the wisdom to know they aren’t that smart
  3. Terrified at the thought of having to earn an honest living
  4. Grasping and amoral in personal advancement

In Soviet Russia they join the Party, in modern UK they get public sector sinecures, and hopefully in the near future they get….. executed [3]. Anyway, I digress.

Much of the reason why communists are not hated, reviled, and hunted down for slaughter in the West right now is simply because most people don’t know what they are and how they are trying to shape the world [4]. Handbook For Spies gives a nice little window. It’s not as horrific as The Bolshevik Myth, but only because the author’s gaze is pointed away from the worst atrocities of the Soviet system.

A spy

A commie spy

This book is a memoir from a British man who headed the USSR spy network in Switzerland in the late 1930s and found himself, during WWII, as handler for the Soviet’s best mole in the German High Command. He was thus able to deliver crucial intel that significantly impacted the war, such as several weeks’ advance notice of Operation Barbarossa [5]. He was arrested by the Swiss but inexplicably released and ultimately recalled to Moscow shortly after the end of WWII. He then defected to the UK and wrote this book in 1956.

Although couched as a memoir it really is like a handbook. There are several chapters formally outlining how a clandestine network is set up, how informers are approached, how meetings made, and data transmitted. In this pre-NSA pre-electronic era its fascinating to read about a world that began by attaching tiny microfilms of information to postcards and then evolved into radio transmissions.

My first observation was how the espionage was always run via the local communist party, and Left-leaning politicians and journalists would give them cover so that patriots were unable to arrest them unless catching them red-handed. Foote was recruited in the UK and had his first spy interview in the official Communist Party headquarters in London. Watching how the KGB used UK union leaders and left-wing papers for their espionage in the 1980s, this is no surprise. As it should be no surprise to see how the Democrat Party and MSM is doing the same thing now in the USA [6].


“What fake dog poo?”

My second observation, quite surprisingly, was how unpleasant a Russian agent’s life was. These spies were barely paid, were overworked, and were run ragged by the demands of ‘Central’ (the Moscow spy leadership). Interestingly, Moscow only ever paid in US dollars and spy remuneration actually followed the Marxist doctrine of “from each according to ability to each according to need”. Spies weren’t paid according to their skill, the quality of their information, or even the risks they ran. Payment was entirely according to the costs of maintaining their cover. Thus a brilliant spy who worked as a plumber was paid a fraction of a bumbling fool masquerading as an aristocrat.

Unlike James Bond movies, Foote presents a Soviet spy network constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, frequently hamstrung by Centre’s incompetence or lack of trust, and often broken up due to purges or venal scheming. His primary contacts in France conspire to get him abducted by the German Abwehr, which he only narrowly escapes (and only because he resists Centre’s original advice).

Foote is soon disillusioned by communism in action and it’s only his ideological commitment that keeps him going in a job he knows has a life expectancy of only a few years. Per international law spies can be executed, and often were. He sees how even when exposure threatens, Centre cheerfully tells him to stay at risk and they sacrifice agents willingly. He realises what everyone soon learns about communism: the brotherhood of man rhetoric is just that, rhetoric. These are evil selfish psychopaths who will sell you out in a heartbeat.

The book concludes when he and his handler are summoned to Moscow to explain fuck-ups that led to the collapse of his network. His handler absconds in Egypt and initially Foote’s interviews in Moscow lead him to believe he will be executed. Luckily, his handler is abducted to Mosocw, sweated down, and then executed in his place. Foote remains in good favour but by now he’s been in Russia for almost two years and realises how awful communism actually is. He’s shocked by conditions.

His escape comes when he’s sent back to Germany on a new mission with a cover story as having been captured in the war near Stalingrad. He expresses concern to his Moscow handler that returning legit POWs may expose him.

“The Director told me not to worry about that, as more than ninety per cent of the Stalingrad prisoners had died of typhus in Siberia” [7] p.159

Here’s another nice comment:

“In fact, my first six weeks in Moscow had convinced me that Nazi Germany as I had known it was a paradise of freedom as compared with Soviet Russia. I was determined to get out of it as soon as possible and return to a world where freedom was more than a propaganda phrase. The only way that I could get out alive was to feign enthusiasm for any espionage plan put up, carry on in Moscow as a good Communist till I was posted elsewhere, and then get out of the clutches of the Centre as fast as possible. I had done my best to help the Russians win their war, but after I had seen them and their methods first hand and at home I was determined not to help them win their peace” p.152

The book ends rather abruptly when he arrives in Berlin and walks into the British zone to freedom. It’s a fast read and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in espionage, the Cold War, or communism. The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking of the People’s Front of Judea and how they’d handle espionage.

Have you not bought Daygame Infinite yet? Shame on you comrade. I shall be forced to report you to the Nick Krauser Vangurd of Daygame (NKVD) and you must report for re-education.

[1] Considering I believe in neither God nor Satan, you may wonder why I subscribe to such a view. Keep wondering. It’s to do with r/K and evil/good being symbolic representations of them.
[2] Evil doesn’t approach you with skulls and fangs. It is all smiles and lofty ideals right up until the moment they have you in their power. It’s best to treat their felicitations the same as you would those of a gangster attempting to lure you into an empty warehouse.
[3] I don’t believe in executing everyone who disagrees with me. Just communists and crypto-currency shills.
[4] In this, they have much in common with homosexuals. I doubt it’s a secret that many homos are also commies.
[5] Which Moscow ultimately ignored. Heh heh!
[6] Those of you unaware of The Storm probably just scoffed at that. I won’t try to convince you. Just remember I said it, then you can tell me later that I was right all along. Obama was an enemy agent.
[7] If you think the Nazis were worse than the Soviets, history will give you a very rude wake-up call. It’s hard not to punch everyone you see in a Che t-shirt.


  1. This book looks fascinating. ill order it now off amazon if I can. will join the pile of books I have waiting to be read 🙂

  2. bought. [Hope you leave your own thoughts on it here after reading it. K.]

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