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Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin worked as chief archivist for the FCD, the foreign-intelligence arm of the KGB. Mitrokhin was responsible for checking and sealing approximately 300,000 files, allowing him unrestricted access to one of the world's most closely guarded archives. He had lost faith in the Soviet system over the years, and was especially disturbed by the KGB's systematic silencing of dissidents at home and abroad. Faced with tough choices--stay silent, resign, or undermine the system from within--Mitrokhin decided to compile a record of the foreign operations of the KGB. Every day for 12 years, he smuggled notes out of the archive. He started by hiding scraps of paper covered with miniscule handwriting in his shoes, but later wrote notes on ordinary office paper, which he took home in his pockets. He hid the notes under his mattress, and on weekends took them to his dacha, where he typed them and hid them in containers buried under the floor. When he escaped to Britain, his archive contained tens of thousands of pages of notes.
In 1995, Mitrokhin, by then a British citizen, contacted Christopher Andrew (For the President's Eyes Only), head of the faculty of history at Cambridge University and one of the world's foremost historians of international intelligence. Andrew was allowed to examine the archive Mitrokhin created "to ensure that the truth was not forgotten, that posterity might some day come to know of it." The Sword and the Shield is the earthshaking result. The book details the KGB's foreign-intelligence operations, most notably those aimed at Great Britain and the "Main Adversary"--the United States. In the 700-page book, Andrew reveals operations aimed at discrediting high-profile Americans, from Martin Luther King to Ronald Reagan; secret arms caches still hidden--and boobytrapped--throughout the West; disinformation efforts, including forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald in an attempt to implicate the CIA in the assassination of JFK; attempts to stir up racial tensions in the U.S. by sending hate mail and even bombs; and the existence of deep-cover agents in North America and Europe--some of whom were effectively "outed" when the book was published.
Mitrokhin's detailed notes are well served by Andrew, who writes forcefully and clearly. The Sword and the Shield represents a remarkable intelligence coup--one that will have serious repercussions for years to come. As Andrew notes, "No one who spied for the Soviet Union at any period between the October Revolution and the eve of the Gorbachev era can now be confident that his or her secrets are still secure." --Sunny Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fascinating stuff. Not as entertaining as his book on the British Secret Service, perhaps because we don't get the same insight into eccentric personalities, or maybe Russian... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Jeremy Nicoll
Excellent and very informative for anyone interested in Soviet History.Published 20 days ago by Joe Marston
Excellent book, definitely recommend it for anyone trying to put the pieces of the cold war togetherPublished 22 days ago by Ulfilas
Entertaining, informative read into the history of KGB operations in Britain and the United StatesPublished 3 months ago by sparrowhawkes
The classic work on the KGB by the retired head, COL Mitrokhin, of their KGB Archives. Oxford University Press, England.Published 3 months ago by donald r hedgpeth
Inside approach of the mysterious world of KGB. Very interesting to have an "Eastern" point of view.Published 4 months ago by ikonostaz
Excellent history of Soviet espionage operations against the West from the birth of the USSR to the end of the Cold War. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carl Malings