- File Size: 8879 KB
- Print Length: 465 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reissue edition (August 4, 2015)
- Publication Date: August 4, 2015
- Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00UDCHXW8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,883 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers Kindle Edition
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"Unique in the strange history of the Iron Curtain... Enthralling... A truly remarkable account of how the author fulfilled his stewardship as a lawyer and as a negotiator. He has done us a real service in writing this engrossing and forthright book." (Allen Dulles, former chief of the CIA, in the New York Times Book Review)
"Absorbing... A top-notch spy thriller." (Time Magazine)
"As fascinating as it is exciting." (The Houston Chronicle)
"Strangers on a Bridge guides us through the saga with a dry and courtly wisdom." (The New Yorker)
"As compelling as The Spy Who Came In From the Cold--except it happens to be true." (Life Magazine)
"An impressive story of devotion to justice and the national interest." (M.C. Miskovsky, CIA )
"Well written and informative, Strangers on a Bridge is a wonderful firsthand account of the most notable spy swap made during the height of the Cold War. Written by defense attorney James Donovan in 1963, the book gives an accurate overview of the behind the scenes negotiations that resulted in KGB Colonel Rudolph Abel being exchange for my father, CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, in February 1962 on the Bridge of Spies." (Francis Gary Powers, Jr., Founder and Chairman Emeritus The Cold War Museum )
“This book is much more than the exciting journal of one of history’s great espionage cases, its preparation, trial and appeal and its dramatic dénouement at the Glienicker Bridge. Anyone who thrills to spy narratives and brilliant investigative work and skillful courtroom tactics will be sure to enjoy it.” (Charles S. Desmond, Former Chief Judge of the State of New York )
About the Author
Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate. Over a thirty-three-year career he served in multiple overseas locations and engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet–East European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets. As Chief in various CIA Stations, he collaborated with foreign partners in counterproliferation and counterterrorism operations. He is the author of Red Sparrow, Palace of Treason, and The Kremlin's Candidate. He lives in Southern California.
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While the movie showed some of the Abel capture and then the trial, and finally the appeal to the United States Supreme Court, it really couldn't go into the detail that Donovan does in his 1964 book. Donovan - not to be confused with fellow lawyer and OSS founder, William "Wild Bill" Donovan - gives a steady account of both the trial and the exchange on the Glienike Bridge, which spans the Havel River in Berlin.
"Strangers on a Bridge" isn't particularly exciting book, but it is written with a eye towards giving the truth, rather than the Hollywood version of the case. Certainly Spielberg and the Coen brothers do take artistic license with James Donovan and Rudolf Abel and Francis Gary Powers, but it seems less than many other "based on real life" movies that are made.
James Donovan died in 1970 at the age of 53, of, I think, a heart attack. He left a legacy of government work behind, beginning with an early stint with the OSS, then working on the Nurenburg War trials, continuing with the defense of Soviet spy Rudol Abel, and also helping with an exchange of prisoners in Cuba. He must have been quite a guy.
BUT one cannot read this book without also reading Bridge of Spies by Giles Whitell. The book is about the same subject as Donovan's but was written in 2010 after the records of Communist Russia were released. I won't reveal any secrets here but the truth about who Abel was and how Powers was shot down, and much much more about the realities of the Soviet nuclear threat, the arms race, etc etc, are pretty shocking. A must read along with the Donovan book. .
Top international reviews
If you want one book that will give you a well-rounded story of Abel, the U-2 program, Powers and Pryor then a much better choice would be Giles Whittell's "Bridge of Spies"