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Spy Trader:: Germany's Devil's Advocate and the Darkest Secrets of the Cold War Hardcover – June 1, 1993

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Throughout the Cold War, East German lawyer Wolfgang Vogel, now 68, made a career out of brokering spies, political prisoners and dissidents, a unique practice that purportedly led to the release of some 200,000 people. Among his more famous cases were the swapping of Soviet spy Rudolph Abel for downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962; the 1981 release of East German spy Guenter Guillame, the spy whose presence on Chancellor Willy Brandt's staff led to Brandt's resignation; and mediating the release of Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky in 1986. With the collapse of communism in East Germany, though, Vogel became a target for reformers seeking to punish him for his close association with Communist Party leader Erich Honecker and with the East German secret police, as well as for his wealth (Vogel is one of the communist world's rare millionaires). In this balanced study, Whitney, diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times , thoughtfully conveys the moral ambiguities and complexities of Vogel's brilliant career, a career not unlike that of the Cold War itself. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

During the Cold War, East German lawyer Wolfgang Heinrich Vogel acted as the go-between for spy swaps and other confidential exchanges between East and West. While deals involving Francis Gary Powers, Rudolf Abel, and Anatoly Shcharansky made the headlines, more importantly Vogel arranged for the transfer to the West of thousands of East Germans in return for large payments to the East German government. While these activities have been noted before in the news media, New York Times correspondent Whitney offers a much fuller account of Vogel's role. The collapse of the Communist regime led to investigations of Vogel's obvious contacts with the secret police (Stasi and KGB). What is most interesting here are the intricate little details of the negotiations, actual operations, and personalities of officials on both sides, particularly the corrupt East Germans. Recommended as a fast and interesting read, but this is certainly not filled with any "darkest secrets of the Cold War." Index and photos not seen.
- Daniel K. Blewett, Loyola Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812922212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812922219
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,146,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In that I was in West Berlin with the US Army from May 1960 to Sept 1963 and personally involved in the Swap of Abel for Powers and
Pryor - I know what happened - and for the most
part was not as portrayed by Mr. Whitney. The
time of the start of the building of The Wall was
Sunday Night, not Saturday Night as he indicates. Mr. James Donovan's book on the
subject of the swap, Strangers on a Bridge is
a very accurate story about the "swap", the
security for it, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
Those of us old enough to remember know what it felt like the day the Berlin wall fell: the exhileration, the excitement, and the sense of history in the making that went with that time.

But Germans (and all of the world) came to realize in the days and months after that there was a complexity in the world of eastern German communism, a complexity not easily resolved.

This is a story about part of that complexity, and about Wolfgang Vogel, the east Berlin lawyer who negotiated with east and west to bring thousands of east Germans to freedom, while himself remaining in east Germany. Vogel's life is a snapshot of east German life, and an often riveting account of east German, and the book is especially riveting in telling the story of the last days of communism and the reunification of Germany.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book!
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