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Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers Paperback – August 4, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 357 ratings

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  • Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers
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Editorial Reviews


“Before you see the new Coen brothers movie “Bridge of Spies,” read the book that inspired it. “Strangers on a Bridge,” the 1964 bestseller, tells a fascinating true story of Cold War espionage…An enthralling inside account.” ― Minneapolis Star Tribune

"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

Born in New York City in 1916, James B. Donovan graduated from Fordham University and Harvard Law School. A commander in the Navy during World War II, he became general counsel of the Office of Strategic Services and was associate prosecutor at the principal Nuremberg trial. Mr. Donovan subsequently acted as chief counsel in major trials and appeals in over thirty states, and was an insurance lawyer and partner at Watters and Donovan. He was Democratic candidate for United States Senator from New York in 1962; served as general counsel for the Cuban Families Committee, obtaining the release of more than 9,700 Cubans and Americans from Castro’s Cuba; was president of Pratt Institute; and was president of the Board of Education of the City of New York. He died in 1970, and was survived by his wife and four children.

Jason Matthews was an officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate. Over a thirty-three-year career he served in multiple overseas locations, spoke six foreign languages, 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. His first novel,
Red Sparrow, won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and was made into a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence. He continued the Red Sparrow trilogy with Palace of Treason and The Kremlin’s Candidate. Jason Matthews passed away in 2021.   
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner; Reissue edition (August 4, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 464 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1501118781
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1501118784
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1.16 x 8.38 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 357 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
357 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

D. Carlson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a book for someone wanting the full story....
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on December 22, 2019
Ken Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting tale with much insight into Cold War ...
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 13, 2015
One person found this helpful
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on October 20, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Saw the movie and immediately ordered the book
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 24, 2016