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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Dark Invasion and The Last Goodnight once again illuminates the lives of little-known individuals who played a significant role in America's history as he chronicles the incredible true story of a critical, recently declassified counterintelligence mission and two remarkable agents whose story has been called "the greatest secret of the Cold War".

In 1946, genius linguist and codebreaker Meredith Gardner discovered that the KGB was running an extensive network of strategically placed spies inside the United States, whose goal was to infiltrate American intelligence and steal the nation's military and atomic secrets. Over the course of the next decade, he and young FBI supervisor Bob Lamphere worked together on Venona, a top-secret mission to uncover the Soviet agents and protect the Holy Grail of Cold War espionage - the atomic bomb.

Opposites in nearly every way, Lamphere and Gardner relentlessly followed a trail of clues that helped them identify and take down these Soviet agents one by one, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. But at the center of this spy ring, seemingly beyond the American agents' grasp, was the mysterious master spy who pulled the strings of the KGB's extensive campaign, dubbed Operation Enormoz by Russian Intelligence headquarters. Lamphere and Gardner began to suspect that a mole buried deep in the American intelligence community was feeding Moscow Center information on Venona. They raced to unmask the traitor and prevent the Soviets from fulfilling Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's threat: "We shall bury you!"

A breathtaking chapter of American history and a head-turning mystery that plays out against the tense, life-and-death gamesmanship of the Cold War, this twisting thriller begins at the end of World War II and leads all the way to the execution of the Rosenbergs - a result that haunted both Gardner and Lamphere to the end of their lives.

©2018 Howard Blum (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

You can't beat non-fiction

You can't beat non-fiction to tell the tale of the spies and those that catch them!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Compelling Saga of Cold War History

This is one of the few audio books you don't want to end. Mr. Blum has skillfully assembled historical material only recently made available into a gripping narrative. It's a fascinating look back to a time in our history which was in many ways more frightening and dangerous than the world we live in today. This is history at its very best and David Colacci's splendid reading makes this a rewarding listening experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book

Just an amazing book. It really makes you empathize with the individuals who act on the belief that what they are doing is right, but are only seen by governments a pons in a vast chess game. The fact the the FBI agents that caught this ring could never reflect on their work with anything but shame is a truly shocking and devastating indictment of the governments of the time

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A thrilling nonfiction title

Blum has written yet another totally absorbing nonfiction title ... Colacci does the book proud with his narration ... great storytelling

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • 10-13-18

Excellent non-fiction spy story

I loved the book and echo what others have said here. There is jumping around at times but it's to get some cohesive narrative out of what was known at one time and what was eventually known. The only note that didn't ring true to me was at the beginning and end where the author is presenting to be universal sympathy for the Rosenbergs from all parties. I can see arguing something other than the death penalty for one or both might be necessary, but it seemed naive and not in keeping with the rest of book to have a cold hearted spy ring leader who passes secrets to the Soviet Union which might have contributed to the Korean War suddenly need a lot of sympathy, It didn't spoil the book at all as it is a tiny part of the overall story. I think I prefer a morally neutral account and let the reader make their own judgments. The author handled the fame of the Rosenbergs compared to the other players extremely well and I'll let the reader see how. I'm a fan of the spy genre plus always enjoy really good non-fiction. This book reminded me a bit of American Kingpin - The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by: Nick Bilton: a first-rate non fiction story taken from the headlines that brings the characters to life. That book is actually even better in terms of making the characters 3 dimensional and taking a morally neutral tone. That may have been harder to do for this story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pretty darn good

This was fascinating story and an interesting glimpse into a very intriguing part of our history. I enjoyed the story as a whole but since I listen to books while I am doing something else - I had to "rewind" several times as the story jumps around occasionally and I would get a little lost. This is no fault of the writing - just my listening.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the details matter in this story, hence the rewinding.

I initially thought I would have liked a little more detail and/or clarity on some of the "spies", but after reflecting on the book I believe further detail on the spies would have been misplaced. This book is about the two guys and their path not about the spies.
It really is a fascinating story but not quite compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful