A Covert Action

Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland
Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this gripping narrative history, Seth G. Jones reveals the CIA's involvement in a landmark victory for democracy during the Cold War. 

In 1983, while Soviet- backed Polish prime minister Wojciech Jaruzelski worked to crush a budding opposition movement through martial law, the CIA launched a sophisticated intelligence campaign supporting dissident groups - particularly trade union-turned-political force Solidarity. With President Ronald Reagan's support, American funds bankrolled clandestine newspapers, broadcasting, and information warfare. This initiative, code-named QRHELPFUL, proved vital in establishing a free and democratic Poland.

Long overlooked by CIA historians and Reagan biographers, the story features an extraordinary cast of characters - including spymaster Bill Casey, CIA officer Richard Malzahn, Solidary leader Lech Walesa, and Pope John Paul II. Based on in-depth interviews and recently declassified evidence, A Covert Action celebrates a decisive victory over tyranny for US intelligence behind the Iron Curtain, one that prefigured the Soviet collapse.

©2018 Seth G. Jones (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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A passionate true story

This is a very good book. I have really liked its structure which is well balanced between necessary detail and overall picture of the Polish society struggle with the communist regime, culminating in the 80ies decade. I was witness of these events, despite being still a child and teenager upon that time. Children in Poland were all too much aware of what was going on these days not to remember today. The book convincingly reconstructs the atmosphere and tensions of the period. It has also added a new perspective to my recollection of this part of history, which is how all the main characters in this theatre, either good or evil, might have played indispensable roles in order to make Poland and the rest of the block repossess its freedom and independence from the Soviets. Tempered but persistent involvement of the US administration was critical contribution too, much owed to the president Reagan strong personality and honest and unconditional sense of justice.
This is a passionate and teaching story, generally, not only for those specifically interested in Eastern Europe history.

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More Poland than Reagan

There was actually very little about Reagan in this book. It was mostly about the struggle in Poland for freedom from the USSR's repression. I found it very interesting, and I learned a lot about a moment in history to which I paid too little attention at the time. I recommend the book.

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Excellent

Great book on a little known affair that shook the world. looking forward to more by this author

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Engaging summary of martial law 1981

The book is a super brief history of the last decade of communism in Poland 1980-1989. Minor errors: the biggest demonstration of the martial law period was in August 1982 in Wrocław. Nearly 100 000 demonstants fought ZOMO there. Also sen. Stokłosa in 1989 joined the Upper Chamber (Senate), not the Lower one (Sejm).