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Shakespeare Would Have Appreciated “How Not to Become a Spy”


Shakespeare Would Have Appreciated “How Not to Become a Spy”

Justin Lifflander

The pet department of the Moscow House of Books. HNTBAS is the one with a blue cover portraying a white cat. Photo by Natalie Lifflander

The historical memoir How Not to Become a Spy continues to suffer from an identity crisis. As author Justin Lifflander has commented, the book is a memoir and all events and characters are a part of history. But many people who read it find this hard to believe and claim it is a romantic novel. At the same time, Justin likes to say the story serves as an urgently needed textbook for diplomats and politicians that provides a proven model for how relations between the United States and Russia can be built (rebuilt) and maintained.

As if this multiple-personality disorder is not enough, it turns out that Moscow book stores seem to be placing the Russian-language version of the book not in the romance / history/  or international-relations sections, but on the shelves where pet-care books are sold. One reader whose place of work is on Lubyanka Square also confirmed that he found the book in the store near his office on the shelf dedicated to veterinary science.


Well, as Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet!"