The Useful Idiot by John Sweeney

The Useful Idiot by John Sweeney is a fiction book by an author I read recently, Killer in the Kremlin, that one was non-fiction. It was exactly the kind of book I was looking for, as the subject is Gareth Jones. Jones was a Welsh reporter in his late 20s. He went to moscow to see how Stalin was implementing the collectivization and how the soviet union was developing.

The Useful Idiot by John Sweeney

This is based on real facts. Gareth Jones did went to russia, was a great reporter, he met there Duranty, an apologist for Stalin. So, this novel is about fake news and how respected journalists were easily corrupted. Even if the topic is about moscow and Ukraine and the famine of the early 1930s, there are so many aspects that can relate to modern day issues.

The book is well written, interesting, it has a short author’s note at the end, a couple of pages, where he talks about the real events. I liked the book. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because I thought it would have been better to make the book more about Jones’ time in Ukraine, about half of the book but it’s less, about a 5th. This is a personal preference and for anyone reading the book just as a novel, then it would have made no difference. With less than 250 pages, this is a lovely, fast-paced, really interesting novel. I highly recommend it.

The Useful Idiot by John Sweeney

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Silvertail Books
Year it was published: 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Fiction
Pages: 249

About the author: John Sweeney is a journalist and author. He worked as an investigative journalist for the BBC’s Panorama series. Before that he worked at The Observer, covering wars and revolutions in more than sixty countries including Romania, Algeria, Iraq, Chechnya, Burundi, and Bosnia.
Sweeney spent four years investigating the cases of Sally Clark, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony, three women who had been falsely imprisoned for killing their children. Sweeney’s investigation helped to clear their names, and led to Sir Roy Meadow, the expert witness whose testimony had proved decisive in their convictions, being temporarily struck off the General Medical Council’s medical register. Sweeney received the Paul Foot Award in 2005 in recognition of his work.
He has won several awards throughout his career.
Other non-fiction books: The Life And Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (1991); Trading With The Enemy: Britain’s Arming of Iraq (1993); Big Daddy – Lukashenka, The Tyrant of Belarus (2012); Church Of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology (2013); North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State (2013); Murder On The Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia (co-authored with Carlo Bonini and Manuel Delia, 2019).
Fiction books: Cold, Elephant Moon, The Useful Idiot.
Website & Social Media Links: johnsweeney

2 thoughts on “The Useful Idiot by John Sweeney”

    • It is a very good historical fiction. Some of the things in the book did not happen, but it’s fiction and most of them worked nicely.
      With the focus on moscow and how journalists were made to spread fake news makes this book very modern and relevant today. Well worth a read.

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