Previous histories have focused on the KGB, leaving military intelligence and the special service - which specialized in codes and ciphers - lurking in the shadows. Drawing on previously neglected Russian sources, Haslam reveals how both were in fact crucial to the survival of the Soviet state. This was especially true after Stalin's death in 1953, as the Cold War heated up and dedicated Communist agents the regime had relied upon - Klaus Fuchs, the Rosenbergs, Donald Maclean - were betrayed.
In the wake of these failures, Khrushchev and his successors discarded ideological recruitment in favor of blackmail and bribery. The tactical turn was so successful that we can draw only one conclusion: the West ultimately triumphed despite, not because of, the espionage war. In bringing to light the obscure inhabitants of an undercover intelligence world, Haslam offers a surprising and unprecedented portrayal of Soviet success that is not only fascinating but also essential to understanding Vladimir Putin's power today.
©2015 Jonathan Haslam (P)2015 Tantor
"For readers of Russian history, spy history, World War II, communication, and those interested in the KGB." (Library Journal)
The reader is beyond bad. There are no sentences, just clipped single words read in a machine like monotone. This makes it extremely difficult to absorb the meaning. Listen to the sammoke before purchasing.
The narration really got in the way of the story: choppy and disjointed. It combined the worst of Christopher Walken's phrasing with up-talk from a Valley girl. I think the narrator got paid extra to insert random pregnant pauses and commas throughout the text. I just couldn't finish the book because it was so difficult to listen to.
I think the book was meant to be read silently to oneself, the phrasing and use of parenthetical asides hurt the ability of the narrator to tell the story in a compelling way.
Lots of British narrators would have done a good job, for example Frederick Davidson.
It's a very interesting story and I might buy the physical book but it is impossible for me to keep engaged in the audio book.
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