In October 1954 a clerk working at the British embassy in Moscow, John Vassall, was invited to a party. Vassall got into a taxi with a “dark-haired stranger” and found himself in the Hotel Berlin. There, he had dinner with a group of Russian men in a private dining room. Soon, he was naked and lying on a divan. Two men raped him. Another took photographs. At 3.30am they brought him home in a taxi.
John Vassall’s treachery was far more damaging than the Cambridge Spies or the Profumo affair, yet his story is underplayed in spy books of the era. Alex Grant reveals the layers of hypocrisy, homophobia and an establishment cover-up in this gripping biography of a man we should understand better.”
In the series:
Jun. 2: Alex Grant on Sex Spies and Scandals: The John Vassall Affair
Jun. 23: Nate Hendley on Atrocity on the Atlantic
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