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Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away

Appearance Date: 10/29/2022

Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away is the biography of a Soviet military-trained intelligence officer who, as a U.S. Army corporal, had full security clearance at two sites of the Manhattan Project, America’s top-secret World War II mission to build the first atomic bomb. Born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa, he was known for charming everyone he met. He loved baseball, was a skilled shortstop and could reel off the history and stats of every big-league pitcher. He played bridge, belonged to two bowling leagues, could recite verses from Whitman and Longfellow – and he was a traitor, who was sending atomic secrets to Moscow to help speed up the creation of the Soviet atomic bomb. Sleeper Agent is a true story of WWII espionage that delves into the psychology of a spy, showing how oppression drove the spy’s decisions to betray America. Because he was never caught, there are no trial transcripts to reveal the facts of his life and thus the book is massively researched, relying on documents in both the U.S. and Russia to piece together a biography that The Wall Street Journal called “a historical page-turner of the highest order.”

Meet the Author

Ann Hagedorn
Ann Hagedorn

Ann Hagedorn is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and an award-winning author of six narrative nonfiction books that embrace a broad range of topics and were widely reviewed with coverage including the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NPR, Time, Smithsonian, The New York Review of Books, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post. She is a graduate of Denison University, the University of Michigan, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, from Denison. As an adjunct professor, she has taught writing at Columbia University, Northwestern, Xavier, and Miami University. Her quests as a narrative nonfiction writer are to seek the truth about topics significant to the general reader and, using the facts unearthed from thorough research, to engage readers through the art of storytelling. Her most recent book, Sleeper Agent, was a finalist in the nonfiction category of the 2022 Edgar Awards.