With this new volume, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr build upon their groundbreaking work in The Secret World of American Communism
and solidify their reputations as the foremost historians of Soviet espionage in America. In Venona
, they provide a detailed study of how the United States decrypted top-secret Communist cables moving between Washington and Moscow. This account, based on information unavailable to researchers for decades, reveals the full extent of the Communist spy network in the 1940s. At least 349 citizens, immigrants, and permanent residents of the United States had a covert relationship with Soviet intelligence agencies, among them Harry White (assistant secretary of the treasury in FDR's administration and the Communists' highest-ranking asset) and State Department official Alger Hiss, whose association with the Soviets had been hotly debated since the moment he was first publicly accused in 1948.
"The Soviet assault was of the type a nation directs at an enemy state," write Haynes and Klehr. They go on to suggest that Venona's code-breaking "indicated that the Cold War was not a state of affairs that had begun after World War II but a guerilla action that Stalin had secretly started years earlier." Moreover, "espionage saved the USSR great expense and industrial investment and thereby enabled the Soviets to build a successful atomic bomb years before they otherwise would have." Haynes and Klehr deliver what is at once a real-life spy thriller and a vital piece of scholarship. A grand achievement. --John J. Miller
From Library Journal
Those who were convinced that the Soviets were spying on us during the 1930s and 1940s were right. Haynes and Klehr have provided the most extensive evidence to date that the KGB had operatives at all levels of American society and government. Where Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassilievs The Haunted Wood (LJ 11/15/98) provided a peek at Soviet spying, Haynes and Klehr throw open the door, revealing a level of espionage in this country that only the most paranoid had dreamed of. Building on the research for their earlier books, The Secret World of American Communism (LJ 6/1/95) and The Soviet World of American Communism (Yale Univ., 1998), Haynes and Klehr describe the astonishing dimensions of spying reflected in the cable traffic between the United States and Moscow. Venona is the name of the sophisticated National Security Agency project that in 1946 finally broke the Soviet code. This is better than anything John le Carr could produce, because in this case, truth is really stranger than fiction. Highly recommended.Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.