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Comrade J Hardcover – January 24, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Prichard's voice provides the ideal narration.... [It] never tires and never changes. Both his oldest and newest fans will enjoy this dark journey into Soviet espionage." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Pete Earley, a former reporter for The Washington Post, is the author of eight works of nonfiction, including the bestsellers The Hot House and Family of Spies, and the award-winning Circumstantial Evidence and Crazy. Washingtonian magazine ranks him as one of ten journalist/authors in America "who have the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency." He is also the author of three novels.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (January 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399154396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399154393
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including the New York Times bestseller The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness.

After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.

His honest reporting and compelling writing helped him garner success as one of few authors with "the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency," according to Washingtonian magazine.

When Pete's life was turned upside down by the events recounted in his book Crazy, he joined the National Alliance of Mental Illness to advocate for strong mental health reform on the public stage.

This new advocacy has taken him to 46 different states and multiple countries around the globe where he delivers speeches to rally against the troubled mental health systems and for the mentally ill.

As an author, Pete has been on the receiving end of many accolades, including:

- 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for General Nonfiction
- New York Times Bestseller for The Hot House
- Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice
- Edgar Award Winner for Best Fact Crime Book

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Peter Earley's "Comrade J" details in commendable detail the career of the Soviet/Russian intelligence officer Sergei Tretyakov, who became the senior Russian operative in New York City in the 1990s. While being a CIA-controlled source. Due to legal restrictions, even the barest details of Tretyakov's defection to (or recruitment by) American Intelligence are absent from the book. Instead, Earley's account concentrates upon Tetrakov's intelligence activities that reached a peak after the end of the Cold War. This is a book that names names and points fingers at persons who, wittingly or not, became resources in the Soviet/Russian battle against American interests. The book is not particularly heavy in the day-to-day detail of how espionage operations are conducted (although there are nonetheless some interesting bits and pieces) but does provide a tolerably comprehensive picture of the scope of Russian Intelligence activities against the US even after the two nations theoretically were no longer enemeies.
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By A Customer on January 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Wall and the Curtain are down as the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union break apart. However, Russia continued its espionage efforts in America even as Yeltsin and the West became allies of a sort. Pete Early (author of true espionages like FAMILY OF SPIES) provides the biography of Russian spy Sergei Tretyakov, code-named Comrade J, who ultimately defected to the West in 2000. In the late 1990s until he defected Tretyakov was assigned to the Russian embassy in New York; from there he led covert operations across the United States, but became disenchanted with Yeltsin and Putin, who he blames for saddling him with inept political cronies (sounds familiar) and a "corrupt political system" that made Communism seem pure. He also had a personal selfish rationale; desiring a better life for his daughter. Tretyakov became an American double agent before finally publicly defecting. The fascination with this memoir is with the more questionable allegations that Tretyakov makes in his numerous interviews with Pete Earley including accusations inside the State Department that probably brings smiles to Nixon and McCarthy; many as far as this reviewer knows have been verified by an independent third party. Well written and entreating with no shockers as Tretyakov's message is that Putin, after looking into the eyes of Bush to see his soul, believes America is no friend of Russia and reacts accordingly.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Just about any average adult in the United States now knows that the only time politicians lie is when their lips are moving. The average adult also knows that a large portion of both private business and government, particularly those who speak to the press, often give, shall we say, misleading, incomplete, or not quite true summaries of whatever it is on the news that particular day. At best, it's their side of the story, told how they want to tell it, and relating how much they're willing to give you. In many cases, they're giving you disinformation. Disinformation is what ordinary people call lies.

All that said, I -- having spent many years working for various U.S. Government intelligence agencies, including NSA, both overseas and in the U.S. -- found Pete Earley's Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War to be very informative and revealing. In some cases, irritating and exasperating. Not with the facts as presented, not with the author, and not with the subject of the book -- Russian spymaster, defector, and double agent Sergei Tretyakov -- but with what the author and Tretyakov, code-named Comrade J, tell us about the sorry state of affairs within our own government.

Now for some specifics. First, an example of sorting out the truth. Early in the book, Tretyakov says, according to the author, "... Russian intelligence targeted President Clinton's deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott, and ran a carefully calculated campaign designed to manipulate him." Talbott, in a written reply, said, "... he knew that Mamedov was relaying all of their conversations ..." back to Russian intelligence.

The following paragraph says, "Just the same, the FBI took the accusations about Talbott seriously ...
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Format: Paperback
This is the second time I have read and perused this magnificent book---and what a momentous and timely book it is! The book reads much like a cliffhanger spy novel, though its nonfiction and its information is true and disturbing. The message is as timely today as it was in 2007 when it was first published.

After World War II, it took the valiant efforts of the Russian defector, code clerk Igor Gozenko, to awaken America and her allies to the fact that Uncle Joe, the greatest mass murderer in history, and our Russian communist friends were conducting serious, devastating espionage against the United States (e.g., atomic secrets among others) at the same time that we were providing the Soviets with vital economic and military aid during "The Great Patriotic War" against the Nazis.

The Berlin Wall comes crashing down in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapses in 1991. Again, the Russians were said to be our friends and allies in the war against (Islamic) terrorism. Even a professor wrote enthusiastically that we had reached the end of history, so humanity has to become reconciled to live peacefully under a soft blend of global socialism and capitalism. Now enters Russian master spy defector Sergei Tretyakov of the New York Rezidentura of the SVR ( the former First Chief Directorate of the KGB) to rain on this optimistically dystopic parade.

And Tretyakov is no ordinary spy of the Communist era. He is the first KGB/SVR officer, who was actively spying for the new Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to defect to the USA. According to a senior FBI agent involved in the case, Sergei Tretyakov "has been by far the most important Russian Spy that our side has had in decades...I can tell you this man saved American lives.
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