The Main Enemy

The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB
Narrated by: Christopher Lane
Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (386 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A landmark collaboration between a thirty-year veteran of the CIA and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, The Main Enemy is the dramatic inside story of the CIA-KGB spy wars, told through the actions of the men who fought them.

Based on hundreds of interviews with operatives from both sides, The Main Enemy puts us inside the heads of CIA officers as they dodge surveillance and walk into violent ambushes in Moscow. This is the story of the generation of spies who came of age in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis and rose through the ranks to run the CIA and KGB in the last days of the Cold War. The clandestine operations they masterminded took them from the sewers of Moscow to the back streets of Baghdad, from Cairo and Havana to Prague and Berlin, but the action centers on Washington, starting in the infamous "Year of the Spy"--when, one by one, the CIA’s agents in Moscow began to be killed, up through to the very last man.

Behind the scenes with the CIA's covert operations in Afghanistan, Milt Bearden led America to victory in the secret war against the Soviets, and for the first time he reveals here what he did and whom America backed, and why. Bearden was called back to Washington after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan and was made chief of the Soviet/East European Division—just in time to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall, the revolutions that swept across Eastern Europe, and the implosion of the Soviet Union.

Laced with startling revelations--about fail-safe top-secret back channels between the CIA and KGB, double and triple agents, covert operations in Berlin and Prague, and the fateful autumn of 1989--The Main Enemy is history at its action-packed best.

©2018 Milton Bearden and James Risen (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

What members say

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A masterpiece of espionage history

This books is the most complete and superbly written book about the final showdown between the CIA and the KGB.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must.

If you are a Cold War espionage enthusiast, this book is a must. No question about it. Great narrator, great book.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story with insight on Soviet collapse

First few chapters are somewhat difficult to follow but the story gets really good and can't put it down the last half.

3 people found this helpful

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Superb book and excellent narration

This is a long, winding and truthful book. I wouldn’t have missed a minute. Christopher Lane just carries you along like good music!

3 people found this helpful

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Compelling Story

This book provided great insight into the most important Soviet defector of the cold war. Even though I already had a general knowledge of Gordievsky and his role in the cold war I was still riveted and held in suspense.

3 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t stop listening

Loved this book. Like watching a spy thriller except it’s all real. Tightly written and brilliantly narrated. I’ve listened to this narrator before, and he always brings a lot to the table. His performance is excellent, especially his accents and the portrayal of different characters. Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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If you want to know

Excellent book that is well written and full of information. Historical and entertaining. Goes into great detail without being a text book.

1 person found this helpful

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great history of cold war espionage and statecraft

Another riveting history of cold war espionage, personalities and momentous events that shaped the modern world. Comprehensive in scope of protagonists and perspectives of the pivotal players who oversaw and directly engaged in the spy games. I very much enjoyed the additional historical content such as the CIA engagement of the mujahedeen and important role of the Afghan proxy war in the context of critialcally weakening the USSR., histories I didn't understand in such detail. Fabulously fascinating!

1 person found this helpful

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Clod War Classic

Excellent account of the spy games that played out between the US and USSR as the end of The Clod War approached. If you lived thru this period you will very likely enjoy this listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C
  • 03-07-19

This was a great one.

I enjoyed this book very much. Great packed with info a little to many names at times but awesome.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Olive Maitha
  • 09-16-19

Many moving parts

This is a very insightful book, it explains all the different parts that played into the cold war and how they have transitioned into the current war on terror. The narration is also quite good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-19

Poorly written

Full of boring unconsequential anecdotes and sadly lacking in vital key facts needed to make a coherent narrative. Appallingly disjointed. Written by a journalist aiming for a word count rather than by an expert giving a cohesive and accurate story.

1 person found this helpful