The best books this year are about North Korea, Detroit, Nagasaki and being a pilot
Politics and current affairs
Near and Distant Neighbours: A New History of Soviet Intelligence. By Jonathan Haslam. Oxford University Press; 400 pages; £20
A detailed appraisal of how the Soviet Union handled undercover operations from the communist revolution in 1917 until the end of the cold war. The most gripping chapters focus on the chaos that was unleashed by Josef Stalin.