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The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB | [Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin]

The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

In 1992 Vasili Mitrokhin defected to England and brought along an extensive archive of military intelligence from the Soviet Union. A career KGB officer who served as chief archivist for its foreign operations, Vasili Mitrokhin became disillusioned with the Soviet system and its constant repression of dissidents at home and abroad. Determined to preserve the truth, he secretly compiled a detailed record of the agency's worldwide espionage network...
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Publisher's Summary

In 1992 Vasili Mitrokhin defected to England and brought along an extensive archive of military intelligence from the Soviet Union. A career KGB officer who served as chief archivist for its foreign operations, Vasili Mitrokhin became disillusioned with the Soviet system and its constant repression of dissidents at home and abroad. Determined to preserve the truth, he secretly compiled a detailed record of the agency's worldwide espionage network. The Sword and the Shield offers an unprecedented look into the KGB's top-secret activities. It is described by the FBI as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever achieved from any source."

Supplementing this trove of KGB secrets with extensive research in other archives, published and unpublished, Christopher Andrew has written an extraordinary book which forces you to acknowledge that there was indeed an enemy - and that he was very much in our midst.
Revelations from The Sword and the Shield:

  • The massive role that the KGB played in the Cold War and the state-sanctioned paranoia behind it
  • The KGB's attempts to discredit J. Edgar Hoover, and their eavesdropping activities against Henry Kissinger
  • Details of secret radio and arms caches buried throughout Western Europe and the United States
  • The real identities of the KGB's most senior spies in Britain and the United States
  • The internal repression of dissidents within the Soviet Union, including the KGB's own most capable and best educated officers

    ©1999 Christopher Andrew; (P) & ©2000 HighBridge Company

  • What Members Say

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    3.7 (62 )
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    •  
      John R. Brown Dallas, TX USA 09-06-03
      John R. Brown Dallas, TX USA 09-06-03 Member Since 2002

      Perry Mason Fan

      HELPFUL VOTES
      68
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      "Great History - Great Spy Story"

      Vasili Mitrokhin was an archivist for the KGB. For several years, he reviewed files as they were moved to a new building. He began to secretly copy information from the files and take it home. Security was surprisingly lax and he became bold. Eventually, he had six crates of notes and quotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union, British intelligence exfiltrated him and his family in exchange for access to his files.

      In this book, he names names. Hundreds of names. For instance, he names an employee of M.W. Kellogg in Houston, whom no one ever suspected of being a Soviet agent. He names key members of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.

      But saying that he names names is understating the importance of this book.

      Beginning in the 1930's and continuing into the late 1980's, he describes Soviet tradecraft and the work of master spys, cutouts, agents, and persons compromised. For instance, the provides the Soviet side of the recuiment and running of the Kim Phily Five, the Alger Hiss matter, the Rosenbergs, etc.

      HE EVEN IDENTIFIES SASHA, a Soviet mole who did much damage (although the CIA's hunt for SASHA may have been even more damaging than Sasha's own work - and the skeptics amoung us question whether there was another Sasha).

      If this were fiction, it would be a pretty good book. As non-fiction, it is a must read for anyone who wants to know what really happened in the cold war and how close we came to losing to the Soviets.

      About 20% of the information in this book is incorporated into Robert Littel's novel, THE COMPANY.

      8 of 8 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Keyvan los angeles, CA, USA 04-26-10
      Keyvan los angeles, CA, USA 04-26-10
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Enriching Book Astounishing Reading"

      Great narrator, great story, but for those folks who suggested The Company is the same kind of book, I disagree. This book is fact base and everything is real. The Company is fiction and all made up. My only regret is this audiobook is not unabridged.
      In point of fact I think abridge book should be allowed unless the author himself cut it.

      2 of 2 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Yee Bernard James 12-27-03 Member Since 2002
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "a must follow up to"

      For anyone who loved "The Company" by Robert Littell. The sword and the shield is a must read/listen.

      A fine record of the other company.

      2 of 2 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 12-24-05
      Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 12-24-05 Member Since 2002

      Larry

      HELPFUL VOTES
      189
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      5
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      "Exposed! The KGB was evil!"

      Well. Here's a revelation. The KGB and it's predecessors was an instrument of terror in the hands of paranoid tyrants. The good information that they produced that indicated that the U.S was not interested in empire buiiding was discarded and messengers shot. The survivors then, with new understanding, painted the U.S. and its allies as greedy power hungry hegemonists intent on invading mother Russia and received medals. All of this from the KGB's own archives through the bravery and dedication to truth of one minor file clerk, Vasily Mitroken. This is a first rate read for anyone who survived the Fifties.

      3 of 5 people found this review helpful
    •  
      marcus indianapolis, indiana, United States 11-25-10
      marcus indianapolis, indiana, United States 11-25-10
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      "Not A Practiced Story Teller"

      There are few topics that would interest me more, but I was so disappointed. I got lost in a fog of details, names, and dates. It "reads" like an encyclopedia on the KGB, which is of interest as far as it goes.

      But, I was hoping for great story telling. As a student of history, I have found that a good historical story tells more than a "reporter's" account of an event.

      No doubt this is an important contribution to our understanding of the KGB. Its back to the cloak and dagger novels for me I suppose.

      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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