Spring is here and I just ordered the lovely bird book above.
Why not? I love garden birds -- and I also love (in a different way) Soviet agents. It turns out that author Henry Hill Collins, Jr. was an ornithologist and a Soviet agent! With his BA from Princeton '26 and MA from Harvard '27, Collins was also an American blueblood whose line went so far back it hit the Magna Carta.
What a truly epic disagrace, then, that Collins was also a core member of the key Communist cell known as the Ware Group. This was the Washington cell of Americans loyal to Stalin's regime organized by Harold "Hal" Ware mainly inside the Department of Agriculture's AAA in the early 1930s, just before Soviet agent Whittaker Chambers came to town, as discussed in American Betrayal. Chambers' mission: to help fan out all that concentrated talent in the Communist Undergound to the primo government departments such as the State Department.
As Chambers wrote about his arrival in Washington in 1934, "Harold Ware was delighted to see me, for there were not enough hours in the day and night for him to manage any longer without help his heavy load of conspiracy...."
Let's hope there was at least a little time for bird-watching.