My Life as a Spy

Leslie Woodhead

12 September 2013
256 pages


In the spring of 1956, like two million other men of his generation, eighteen-year-old Leslie Woodhead received a summons to serve Her Majesty. Charting his progress from the austerity of post-war Halifax, via comically bleak RAF training camps and the grim, isolated Joint Services School for Linguistics, My Life As A Spy takes us finally to Berlin and the front line of the Cold War. In the ruins of a city gripped by espionage and paranoia, Leslie Woodhead was hurled into maturity and discovered his vocation as an observer and documenter of people.

This is both a slice of Cold War history and a poignant tale of how our lives can be formed by events and experiences we barely comprehend at the time.

'[a] delightfully irreverent memoir. . . Woodhead's memories exude a wonderful sense of nostalgia for a world of lost innocence that to anyone over 60 is instantly recognisable' Sunday Times