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Editorial Reviews

Spymaster is no ordinary account of Cold War espionage - banned by Putin, it offers an insider look at agent Sergey A. Kondrashev's involvement with the KGB. Kondrashev entrusted his close personal friend, ex-CIA officer Tennent H. Bagley, to publish these memoirs for a Western audience, and the stories of purges, revolutions, and defections are truly startling. Listeners will be surprised to discover that the deep, serious, and evocative vocal performance is from none other than Bronson Pinchot, better known as "Balki" from television's Perfect Strangers. Here, he proves his sincerity and versatility as a vocal actor, to great effect.

Publisher's Summary

From the dark days of World War II through the Cold War, Sergey A. Kondrashev was a major player in Russia’s notorious KGB espionage apparatus. Rising through its ranks through hard work and keen understanding of how the spy and political games are played, he “handled” American and British defectors, recruited Western operatives as double agents, served as a ranking officer at the East Berlin and Vienna KGB bureaus, and tackled special assignments from the Kremlin.

During a 1994 television program about former spymasters, Kondrashev met and began a close friendship with a former foe, ex–CIA officer Tennent H. “Pete” Bagley, whom the Russian asked to help write his memoirs.

Because Bagley knew so about much of Kondrashev’s career (they had been on opposite sides in several operations), his penetrating questions and insights reveal slices of never-revealed espionage history that rival anything found in the pages of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, or John le Carr. This includes chilling tales of surviving Stalin’s purges while superiors and colleagues did not, of plotting to reveal the Berlin Tunnel, of quelling the Hungarian Revolution and “Prague Spring” independence movements, and of assisting in arranging the final disposition of the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Kondrashev also details equally fascinating KGB propaganda and disinformation efforts that shaped Western attitudes throughout the Cold War.

Because publication of these memoirs was banned by Putin’s regime, Bagley promised Kondrashev to have them published in the West. They are now available to all who are fascinated by vivid tales of international intrigue.

©2013 Tennent H. Bagley (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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An brilliant personal Cold War perspective

A fascinating story of the personal life of a man who survived the Stalin purges, participated in events that molded the Cold War, and a transparent view of "of the other side".

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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The true story of a former Russian spy

What made the experience of listening to Spymaster the most enjoyable?

The revelations.

What did you like best about this story?

The idea of the memoirs of an ex-KGB officer.

Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

Every one.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

One part made me laugh, the story involving the paintings of Politburo members and a switchboard in the Soviet embassy in Britain.

Any additional comments?

None.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Fans of the cold war spy game should give it a try

The insight of a soviet spymaster is more than enlightening; he gives answers to questions western intelligence services didn't even know to ask. Although I like and read history, I tend to listen to fiction; having said that, I really enjoyed this one. If you like popular histories, and the nuts and bolts of cold war espionage, this might be the book for you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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good book that is well written

enjoyed this story was great to listen to and easy to understand the narrator I would recommend it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Source Is More Valuable that the Secret

The world of espionage is always fascinating. This is an account of one spy’s career from Stalin’s era to the time of Gorbashev. The story of Sergey Kondrashev, told posthumously, contains secrets he was not able to relate in his own autobiography. One of the revelations was an insight into one of the primary causes of the Korean War.

I always enjoy the sonorous voice of Bronson Pinchot. When narrating fiction I appreciate his dramatic character voices. This being a non-fiction book, we have to settle for his soothing voice, precise diction and great pacing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well worth the listen

Very interesting story, with great relevance to current political situation in Russia, well read and performed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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highly recommended

this is an extraordinary tale that I will listen to again and it will surely still hold my attention. so fascinating!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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is really good story of a man that lived

is a really good story of a man that lived in the center of history

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great cold war stories of espionage

Where does Spymaster rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like this book because of the nature of two former enemies sharing war stories. It's one of the better nonfiction books on the cold war that I have listened to so far

What was one of the most memorable moments of Spymaster?

na

Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

na

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

na

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An interesting peak behind the iron curtain

This book is like a series of quick glances behind the curtains of a peep show - fascinating and strange with only a hint of the full magnitude of the horror. I saw one review that complained that the book was nothing more than disjoint stories. Though it is a series of anicdotes, you can see the role of the KGB in rise and fall of the iron curtain - from the rise at the end of World War II, to the fall of Berlin and the end of the Soviet Union.

To put this book in more context, I would recommend listening to more cold war histories. For more hints of the history, I recommend "Spycraft" and "Skunkworks."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chip Henriss
  • 07-22-17

Interesting insights

This is a really good book if you are interested in the intelligence world during the Cold War. My only criticism is that the author continually points out crimes committed by the Soviet state and system but never points out his own issues that may have occurred during US and CIA crimes committed, for example, in Central America.