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Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor Hardcover – September 17, 2012

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Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor + Stalin's Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government + American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery History; 1 edition (September 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596983221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596983229
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap


It was, argues celebrated historian John Koster, part of a deep Soviet plot—“Operation Snow”—to divert the Japanese into fighting the Americans rather than the Russians.

Even more startling, Koster reveals how Harry Dexter White, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s most important men in the Treasury Department—and also a Soviet spy—was a key figure in the plot.
In Operation Snow Koster reveals:

  • The previously neglected (and untranslated) sources that expose the Soviet conspiracy
  • How Harry Dexter White got away with one of the most devastating acts of treason in American history
  • How Japan and the United States were manip¬ulated by Russian agents and propaganda
  • Why, if Operation Snow had failed, the Soviet Union might have collapsed under the com¬bined might of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan
  • Stalin’s unwitting stooge—how FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury was manipulated to promote policies that provoked war with Japan
  • It didn’t end with Pearl Harbor: how Harry Dexter White continued to act as a Soviet agent into the postwar era, until exposure prompted a disguised suicide.

Full of shocking detail, Operation Snow is a riveting exposé of an extraordinary intelligence operation that radically altered the Second World War, with consequences that are almost impossible to measure.

Think you know the story of Pearl Harbor? You don’t know the full story until you read Operation Snow.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Operation Snow

“I found Operation Snow to be an irresistible page-turner. The attack exacted a terrible toll on both countries and changed the world forever. It is important to understand why that happened. Koster has made a significant contribution.”
Admiral Ronald J. Hays USN (Ret), former commander in chief Pacific Forces

“To paraphrase Cicero, a nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious, but, as a rule, it cannot survive treason from within, especially when the traitor—in this case Harry Dexter White—is allowed to lead the fools and the ambitious. The U.S. survived. It’s a cautionary tale—the exception that proves the rule.”
Thomas K. Kimmel Jr., former FBI agent, Pearl Harbor scholar, grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel

“Fascinating and compulsively readable. What a book! The House Un-American Activities Committee transcripts are arresting in their exposure of White’s duplicity.”
Louise Barnett, Ph.D., professor of American Studies, Rutgers University, author of Atrocity and American Military Justice in Southeast Asia and Touched by Fire

“John Koster’s Operation Snow opens a whole new window on the Russian role in fomenting Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor to safeguard Russia’s eastern front.”
Edward H. Bonekemper III, Civil War historian, author of Grant and Lee

“This book is important because Harry Dexter White was the most dangerous traitor in American history.”
Mikhail Smirnov, MA, Moscow University, former Soviet soldier

Customer Reviews

This book is very well written with an incredible story.
darlene m bielecki
Very unusual perspective but obviously more than just a perspective given the amounts of factual data and transcripts used in this book.
Grace Mayer
White played a key role in composing the "ultimatum" sent to the Japanese as well as in the oil embargo that preceded it.
John Dietrich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Thomas P. Lowry on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I published my 1995 book on Taranto and Pearl Harbor, I thought I understood the subject. How wrong I was. Koster, with his access to, and use of, records in Japanese and Korean, and recently available Soviet records, has shone a brilliant light on Pearl Harbor and turned "history" on its head. Roosevelt and the US State Department come off very badly, seemingly wallowing in a mixture of self-deception, racism, and ignorance. It becomes increasingly clear that our 1941 offers to Japan were so insulting and contemptuous, so likely bring down any Japanese government, that we forced them into a corner, and like any cornered and desperate organism, they attacked. Koster may be unduly kind to the two American commanders at Pearl Harbor. True they were betrayed by Roosevelt and (probably) Marshall, but their failure to note the radio silence of the Japanese fleet and the long standing predictions of an attack on Pearl Harbor, shows them as not properly cautious. One of Koster's themes is the enormous crime of locking up ALL Japanese-Americans. I still recall my grandmother's gardener, Tom Nokamura. I seriously doubt that he a spy. But back to Koster's central thesis -- a single Soviet mole, far smarter than his superiors in the Federal government, saved Joseph Stalin, doomed us to the Cold War, and led to the deaths of millions of American and Japanese soldiers.
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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David Kinchen on October 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books --- books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?" ― Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code"

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." ― Winston Churchill, who did just that with many books

I love quotes about history almost as much as I love reading history and, to the above quotes, I'll add one by George Santayana that applies to John Koster's brilliant "Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor": "History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten."

Forget everything you know -- or think you know -- about the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 that wasn't all that surprising to the top leaders in Washington. Koster provides documentation enough for me to modify my views about Pearl Harbor from my reading of Gordon W. Prange's three books about the attack, not to mention Walter Lord's two books --"Day of Infamy" and "Incredible Victory" and John Toland's two books.

Koster writes that Prange -- considered by many to be the definitive historian writing about Pearl Harbor -- "blandly dismissed the plausible warnings by the Yugoslav-German double agent Dusko Popov and the Korean patriot Kilsoo Haan of an attack on Pearl Harbor. "The latter even got the date right....Both Popov and Haan were threatened with retribution if they went public with news of their attempts to warn the government."

In "Operation Snow" -- drawing on the latest intelligence, including newly translated documents -- Koster writes about Harry Dexter White, a Ph.D.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By JJ Murphy on November 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The two one-star reviews look like what used to be called "disinformation." (The Soviets used to attempt to suppress the truth with irrelevant charges because they feared the facts.) The English-language quotes in this book are all identified in the text. They come from Harry Dexter White's own state papers or the transcript of his hearing before HUAC. White was obviously pulling strings to start a war between the United States and Japan to help the Soviet Union. When FDR almost brokered a deal for peace with Japan, White became hysterical. Read his letter in the text. The FBI identified Harry Dexter White as a Soviet agent and a traitor in 1950. That document is available on-line. The fact that both one-star reviewers see Stalin as having saved America, instead of the other way around, shows where their true loyalties are. The five-star and four-star reviews of the book are honest and reliable. PS -- the book is very readable and contains some unique photographs.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By RN on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The quotes in English are all attributed and confirm that Harvey Dexter White was trying to start a war with Japan. Judge Pal from India told the truth. That is why his book has never been published in the US or in the UK. The Russian version of Vitalii Pavlov's book was never published in English either. He did not get to be a Lieutenant General in the KGB except by triggering Peral Harbor.

An astounding book well worth the read. Another success by John Koster!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tony Fusco on February 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover

FROM: Mr. Ladd

PURPOSE: To advise you of the positive identification of agent Jurist (the cover name of a Soviet agent operating in 1944 and named by Venona project) as Harry Dexter White, deceased. White was formerly the Administrative Assistant to former Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau.

DETAILS: You have previously been advised of information obtained from [Venona Project] regarding Jurist who was active during 1944. According to the previous information received from Venona project regarding Jurist, during April 1944, he had reported on conversations between the then Secretary of State Hull and Vice President Wallace. He also reported on Wallace's proposed trip to China. On August 5, 1944 he reported to the Soviets that he was confident of President Roosevelt's victory in the coming .elections unless there was a huge military failure. He also reported that Truman's nomination as Vice President was calculated to secure the vote of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. It was also reported that Jurist was willing for any self-sacrifice on behalf of the MGB but was afraid that his activities, if exposed, might lead to a political scandal and have an effect on the elections. It was also mentioned that he would be returning to Washington, D.C., on August 17, 1944. The new information from [Venona Project] indicates that Jurist and Morgenthau were to make a trip to London and Normandy and leaving the United States on August 5, 1944.
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