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Publisher's Summary

This book reveals the most complete picture ever of the KGB and its operations in the United States and Europe. It is based on an extremely top secret archive, which details the full extent of its worldwide network.

Christopher Andrew is professor of modern and contemporary history and chair of the history department at Cambridge University, a former visiting professor of national security at Harvard, a frequent guest lecturer at other United States universities, and a regular host of BBC radio and TV programs. His books - which include Her Majesty’s Secret Service; KGB: The Inside Story (with Oleg Gordievsky); and For the President’s Eyes Only - have established him as one of the world’s leading authorities on intelligence history.

©1985 Christopher Andrew and Vasilli Mitrokhin (P)1999 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A sweeping, densely documented history…Thanks to Comrade Mitrokhin, the KGB and most who spied for it have been stripped naked.”  ( New York Times Book Review)
The Sword and the Shield will stand as an indispensable reference work on Soviet espionage for years to come.” ( Washington Post)
“Whitfield’s [narration]…is certainly appropriate for this presentation.”  (Kliatt)

What listeners say about The Sword and the Shield

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book on the history of the KGB

Dreams come true.

Never thought this book would make it to Audible, The subtitle -The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB really describes the book that took Mitrokhin 18 yesrs to compile in the about the KGB and clearly it was his obsession. Many consider the Mitrokhin Archive to be the Bible of the Cold War from the KGB side and clearly it has tremendous historical importance as one of the main books of this age.

It should not be only book or even the first book you read, but it will be the one you keep and refer back to again and again. This book will give you a very detailed glance into the inner workings of the KGB -Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti 0 Committee for State Security. The importance of this book from a historical perspective cannot be lost of the current generations in Russia as the current president Vladimir Putin was a KGB agent in East Germany in the 1980s.

Robert Whitfield (Simon Vance) does an absolutely fantastic job narrating this book and the author Christopher Andrew has done an equally fantastic job writing the book. It is easily one of the best written books that I have ever read. It was a joy and pleasure to read. Whitfield's can actually pronounce the English as well as the Russian names correctly, which is a pleasure to listen to in this book.

Although this book was published in 2000 it is still a great historical account of the KGB. If you are interested in the fictional accounts of John LeCarre, Len Deighton, and other writers of spies during the Cold War you will love this book. If you like Spycraft by Wallace, Melton and Schlesinger you will love this book.

I loved this book and you will love it too.

The book is very long. I love that it is in audio format on audible.com, but I would also get a copy for your reference shelf. It is a wonderful book.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Details galore

Would you listen to The Sword and the Shield again? Why?

Tremendously detailed history of KGB operations. This book has a broad scope -- beginning with the birth of the Cheka in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution and continuing through to the 1980's. However, the main focus is on KGB operations during the Cold War. If you're looking for a lot of details, you'll love it. If not, you may find it a bit tedious. Very good narration.

11 people found this helpful

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  • DS
  • 07-05-15

FOR ESPIONAGE JUNKIES

IF you enjoy the minutia of cold war espionage activity,this is the book for you. There are many books from the perspective of the CIA and MI-5-6, this is from the perspective of the KGB. What was most interesting to me was the ideological blinders of Stalin and Andropov, and the subsequent sycophant behavior of their underlings, which caused them to make many blunders and and rendered KGB efforts meaningless. It was interesting to see that both sides were foiled by ideological blindness.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Engrossing and a truly spellbinding read.

Where does The Sword and the Shield rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Certainly among my top ten in regards to espionage.

Have you listened to any of Robert Whitfield’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. First time and in regards to his performance I would rate him a nine. It took me few hours to warm up to his reading but then I became simply put "feeling as if I were a part of the Novel" Well done! Will certainly listen if the subject interests me and he is the reader.

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

Yes it was. In my case I found myself having to stop the recording in order to do my daily chores.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Story

What did you love best about The Sword and the Shield?

Such an interesting story with a large amount of detail that many would not have known about without Mitokhin.

What about Robert Whitfield’s performance did you like?

Well read, easy to listen to while commuting.

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

No, 31 hours is a little much for one sitting.

Any additional comments?

A small amount of details reviewed from earlier in the book toward the end. I thought it helped flush out the book but some might not like it.

6 people found this helpful

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Eye opening and Scary

This book is a fascinating inside account of the operations of the KGB and in its first chapters the evil and madness of its leader Stalin. For more eye opening and indeed sickening not to mention scary is the revelation of just how many traitors there were and no doubt still are in the USA and England who sold their souls and country to a evil and murderous political theory. Example, did you know that people who were part of the program developing the first Atomic Bomb gave that same information to the KGB, university students, and teachers betrayed their country by spying for the Russians.

This book reads like an encyclopedia of who was who before and during the cold war, the Americans and Brits were who were willingly aiding the USSR against their own people and what information they passed along. It lists the numbers of infiltrators called "residents" some here legally but most illegally and most damning of all it shows just how ignorant and even inept the US Presidents before and during WW2 were in realizing the true depth to which the KGB had the US infiltrated.

If your a freedom loving American this book can be a painful (but informative) read as it shows you just how badly the Commies have corrupted us and the sheer amount of information they had on us. Make no mistake, the Cold war was far more perilous than popular media and even those who lived through it would have you believe.

This is not some riviting spy novel, this is a 'just the facts ma'am' record of KGB activities recorded by a brave man who risked everything to bring the truth to light. (God Bless him!)

1 person found this helpful

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This is surely worth adding to your library

This book is more along the lines of a documentary. If you're interested in being informed on some of Russian history as it related to US interaction, then this is the book for you. Additionally, check this video "Star Wars: Reagan's Gigantic Bluff" for inside the Soviet Union's reaction to this program, it is very enlightening.

1 person found this helpful

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To Understand Russia, Understand This

Anyone wanting to understand Russia and its President Vladimir Putin should buy this book. Far more than a remarkable spy history this detailed account of Russian and Soviet spying, disinformation campaigns and disrupting US and European governments reveals how and why we should distrust Russia and protect our democracy from Russian interference.

1 person found this helpful

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A very comprehensive history

This is an absolute treasure trove of declassified information! Should be required reading for anyone interested in Cold War history.

1 person found this helpful

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A reality check on Russia

This b[k is a valuable expose of Russian ambitions a warning that the fall of the Iron Curtain didnt resolve that much

1 person found this helpful