As chief archivist of the KGB's foreign branch, Vasili Mitrokhin had virtually unfettered access to its most closely held secrets. But his government ...Show synopsisAs chief archivist of the KGB's foreign branch, Vasili Mitrokhin had virtually unfettered access to its most closely held secrets. But his government's relentless repression of dissidents at home and abroad and its bungled Afghan war policy disillusioned him. Determined to preserve the truth, Mitrokhin secretly compiled a detailed record of the feared agency's operations abroad.Hide synopsis
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Every student of intelligence or history of the 20th century should own this book. This is the authoritative account of the KGB's actions in Europe by the KGB's own archivist, based on the copying of thousands of KGB records he smuggled out and to Great Britain.
Buy this book, read it, and gape aghast at how incomplete your knowledge of Cold War history had been.
How to approach this subject without turning off potential readers of this review? The key problem with any attempt to study the history of covert operations is burdened with the obvious caveat that everybody involved has lived a life of deception and prevarication.
Mr Andrew and Mr Gordievsky offer themselves as purveyors of Truth. I will offer an example of their unreliability: On page 622 they offer a set of four exemplary successes by the KGB in stealing western technology.
The Blackjack bomber is offered up as a copy of the B1; www.militaryfactory.com isjust one of many web pages that offers public record discussions refuting this claim.
Then they write in the same paragraph, "the RYAD series of computers plagerised from IBM originals". It is very much a part of the public record that the Soviets bought the OS for this series on the open market, where it was peddled globally in clone form by Amdahl Corporation. I'm sure IBM takes a dim view, but if this is an example of KGB prowess, no wonder they're out of business.
So it goes for the entire book. The only way this book could be useful to a serious historical researcher is by using names and dates as starting points for searches for more reliable sources.
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