At 18 years of age, Theodore Hall was the youngest physicist on the Manhattan Project, hired as a junior at Harvard and put to work at Los Alamos in 1944. Assigned the job of testing and refining the complex implosion system for the plutonium bomb, Hall was described as “amazingly brilliant” by his superiors on the project, many of whom were Nobel Prize winners. But what Hall’s colleagues didn’t know was that the teenaged Hall was also the youngest spy taken on by the Soviet Union in search of secrets to the atomic bomb. Spy for No Country tells the gripping story of a brilliant scientist whose information about the plutonium bomb, including detailed drawings and measurements, proved to be integral to the Soviet’s development of nuclear capabilities.
In the dying days of World War II, defeat of the Third Reich became a matter of when, not if. Tensions between wartime allies America and the Soviet Union began to rise, and things only got hotter when the United States refused to share information on its nuclear program. This groundbreaking book paints a nuanced picture of a young man acting on what he thought was best for the world. Neither a Communist nor a Soviet sympathizer, Hall worked to ensure that America did not monopolize the science behind the atomic bomb, which he felt may have apocalyptic consequences. Instead, by providing the Soviets with the secrets of the bomb, and thereby initiating “mutual assured destruction,” Hall may have actually saved the world as we know it. But his contributions to the Soviets certainly did not go unnoticed. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover opened an investigation into Hall, which was escalated when it was discovered that Hall’s brother Edward was a rising star of the Air Force, leading the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Featuring in-depth research from recently declassified FBI documents, first-hand journals, and personal interviews, investigative journalist Dave Lindorff uncovers the story of the atomic spy who gave secrets away, and got away with it, too.
Dave Lindorff is a veteran investigative journalist, having worked as a Business Week correspondent, Los Angeles County government bureau chief for the Los Angeles Daily News. and later a reporter/producer on Los Angeles PBS station KCET-TV’s Peabody Award-winning investigative news program 28-Tonight. Lindorff has won major journalism awards including, most recently, a 2019 “Izzy” award for “Outstanding Independent Media” from the Park Center for Independent Media.
He was a two-time Fulbright Professor of Journalism posted at Shanghai, PRC’s prestigious Fudan University, and Taiwan’s Sun Yat-Sen University in Kaohsiung. Lindorff is the author of the critically acclaimed books Marketplace Medicine: Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains, Killing Time: Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, This Can’t Be Happening!, and The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office. He writes regularly for the Nation and the London Review of Books, among others, and was an on-camera reporter on the Oscar-nominated documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
“In Spy For No Country, Lindorff takes the reader beyond the who, what, where, when, and how of a spy biography by placing a keen eye on the why of Ted Hall’s Soviet espionage in World War II America. When the motives of a spy are exposed within the context of the hopes and fears of an era, the truth can surface, as Lindorff so deftly reveals. His fast-paced, myth-smashing, and engaging narrative brims with surprises while delving into the timeless issues of nuclear threat and global peace.” – Ann Hagedorn, award-winning author of Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away among others
“Lindorff’s remarkable story of the life of teenaged American atomic spy Ted Hall offers a riveting journey through the world of espionage, intrigue, scientific discovery, politics, and moral reckoning with an extraordinary cast of characters. Read this and make your own judgments. Lindorff has made his.” – Peter Kuznick, Professor of History and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute, American University and co-author (with Oliver Stone) of The Untold History of the United States
“This groundbreaking story about an early little-known chapter in the history of the atom bomb, told in nuanced contexts with meticulous attention to detail, offers vital insights about the first nuclear era and the current one. Lindorff challenges us to reassess what we've assumed we know, and to dig for answers that could help save us all.” – Norman Solomon, author of War Made Invisible among many others