Best of Enemies

The Last Great Spy Story of the Cold War
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The thrilling story of two Cold War spies, CIA case officer Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko - improbable friends at a time when they should have been anything but.

In 1978, CIA maverick Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko were new arrivals on the Washington, D.C., intelligence scene, with Jack working out of the CIA's counterintelligence office and Gennady out of the Soviet Embassy. Both men, already notorious iconoclasts within their respective agencies, were assigned to seduce the other into betraying his country in the urgent final days of the Cold War, but instead the men ended up becoming the best of friends - blood brothers. Theirs is a friendship that never should have happened, and their story is chock full of treachery, darkly comic misunderstandings, bureaucratic inanity, the Russian Mafia, and landmark intelligence breakthroughs of the past half century.

In Best of Enemies, two espionage cowboys reveal how they became key behind-the-scenes players in solving some of the most celebrated spy stories of the 20th century, including the crucial discovery of the Soviet mole Robert Hanssen, the 2010 Spy Swap which freed Gennady from Soviet imprisonment, and how Robert De Niro played a real-life role in helping Gennady stay alive during his incarceration in Russia after being falsely accused of spying for the Americans. Through their eyes, we see the distinctions between the Russian and American methods of conducting espionage and the painful birth of the new Russia, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, dreams he can roll back to the ideals of the old USSR.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Gus Russo (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"An informative and exciting history for the general reader and for the espionage expert alike." (Publishers Weekly)

"A rollicking tale of Cold War espionage... An unusual, entertaining story of steadfast friendship amid governmental treachery." (Kirkus)

"Best of Enemies is a knockout thriller about one of the great yarns in international espionage: how an American CIA agent and a Russian KGB agent wound up on the same side. You have to read it to believe it." (Tom Brokaw)

What members say
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Really?

If the CIA and KGB allowed such irresponsible adolescents to prosper in their ranks, every brother in Animal House would have been great recruits for both agencies. I had to suspend disbelief throughout.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story!

The story itself is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking. Robert Petkoff did a really nice job of telling the story. I didn't like how much it jumped around in time lines, but the story itself is well worth the listen. They just don't make men like that anymore - incredible insight and details into this world. Just fascinating.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Truth is stranger than fiction

This is a well written, fascinating story. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the liberal use of the F word which I found distracting and unnecessary. The story of two intelligence officers from opposing agencies who develop a strong friendship is compelling and poignant. This was a page turner.

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Awesome read

What a great story! Very riveting, and the narrator really brings life to this interesting yet dark time in Russia/US history. Thank you for writing it. Bravo!

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  • Hi
  • 12-20-19

great story

awesome friendship story and true great times. mind blowing and interesting to hear it all unfold.

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An Expertly Performed Song of the Unsung Heroes

For the unsung heroes acknowledged solemnly by the stars on the wall at Langley, Best of Enemies is a Russo and Dezenhall composition of gritty and glamorous spycraft playing as background to a concert that calmed the Cold War from going nuclear. Few reviews will adequately capture the fascinating lives of this intimate recounting of patriots improvising against personal risks to save the lives of millions.

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Amazing insight into a special friendship

I found this to be a very revealing history of behind the cutains of the spy world. Listening was time well spent.

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Amazing!!!

I have often wondered if agents developed respect and admiration for each other like this. Great story!

1 person found this helpful

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Really moving and powerful story

Liked - great story and a good performance.
Disliked - bit more foul (unnecessary) language than I’d like

1 person found this helpful

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Truth is stranger than fiction

This is a most extraordinary story of a friendship that survived horrific torture and two barely functional spy agencies.

1 person found this helpful