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The Spy and the Traitor

  by Ben Macintyre


(about 482 pages)
120,551
total words
of all the books in our library
30.81%
vividness
of all the books in our library
7.14%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.04%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.47%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.57%
non-ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

MOST PASSIVE PAGE
MOST VIVID PAGE
did you not know he was spying for the British?” they asked, again and again. Finally, she snapped. “Look. Let’s be clear. I was a wife. My job was to clean, cook, shop, sleep with him, have children, share the bed, and be his friend. I was good at it. I’m grateful he didn’t tell me anything. For six years of my life I was a perfect wife. I did everything for him. You, the KGB, you have thousands of people with salaries whose job was to check up on people; they checked him and checked him and cleared him. And you come to me and blame me? Don’t you think that sounds stupid? You didn’t do your job. It wasn’t my job, it was yours. You ruined my life.” Over time, she got to know her interrogators. One day, one of the more sympathetic officers asked her: “What would you have done if you had known that your husband was planning to escape?” There was a long pause before Leila answered: “I would have let him go. I would have given him three days and then, as a loyal citizen, I would have reported it. But I would have made sure he had gone for sure before I did so.” The interrogator put down his pen. “I think we will not put that in the report.” Leila was in enough trouble already. Mikhail Lyubimov was brought in for questioning by Directorate K. “Where could he be?” they demanded. “Is was clearing his throat, attempting to ensure there would be no involuntary spluttering. Rachel turned up the music. “Only Sixteen” by Dr. Hook echoed incongruously around the concrete lot. A dog handler appeared, and stood, eight yards away, looking intently at the British cars and stroking his Alsatian. A second sniffer dog was inspecting a container truck. The first dog approached, eager and panting, straining at its chain. Rachel reached casually for a packet of crisps, opened it, offered a crisp to Caroline, and dropped a couple on the ground. The British cheese and onion crisp has a most distinctive aroma. Invented by the Irish potato-crisp magnate Joe “Spud” Murphy in 1958, cheese and onion is a pungent artificial cocktail of onion powder, whey powder, cheese powder, dextrose, salt, potassium chloride, flavor enhancers, monosodium glutamate, 5’-sodium ribonucleotide, yeast, citric acid, and coloring. Caroline had bought her imported Golden Wonder crisps from the embassy shop, which stocked Marmite, digestive biscuits, marmalade, and other British staples impossible to obtain in Russia. The Soviet sniffer dogs had almost certainly never smelled anything like cheese and onion crisps before. She offered a crisp to one of the dogs, which wolfed it down before being yanked away by the unsmiling handler. The other dog, however, was now snuffling at the trunk of the Sierra. Gordievsky could hear muffled Russian voices overhead. As the dog circled the car, Caroline Ascot reached for a weapon that had never been deployed before in the Cold War

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 2411.02 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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other books by Ben Macintyre

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