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Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chiefby Tennent H Bagley
Synopses & Reviews
From the dark days of World War II through the Cold War, Sergey A. Kondrashev was a major player in Russias notorious KGB espionage apparatus. Rising through its ranks through hard work and keen understanding of how the spy and political games are played, he “handled” American and British defectors, recruited Western operatives as double agents, served as a ranking officer at the East Berlin and Vienna KGB bureaus, and tackled special assignments from the Kremlin.
During a 1994 television program about former spymasters, Kondrashev met and began a close friendship with a former foe, ex-CIA officer Tennent H. “Pete” Bagley, whom the Russian asked to help write his memoirs.Because Bagley knew so about much of Kondrashevs career (they had been on opposite sides in several operations), his penetrating questions and insights reveal slices of never-revealed espionage history that rival anything found in the pages of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, or John le Carré: chilling tales of surviving Stalins purges while superiors and colleagues did not, of plotting to reveal the Berlin Tunnel, of quelling the Hungarian Revolution and “Prague Spring” independence movements, and of assisting in arranging the final disposition of the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Kondrashev also details equally fascinating KGB propaganda and disinformation efforts that shaped Western attitudes throughout the Cold War.
Because publication of these memoirs was banned by Putins regime, Bagley promised Kondrashev to have them published in the West. They are now available to all who are fascinated by vivid tales of international intrigue.
"Cold War reminiscences from the Soviet side are generally best read with caution — they add to autobiography a fundamental unverifiability that makes them dubious as historical documents. That said, Sergey Kondrashev's memoirs, as told to friend and former CIA officer Bagley (Spy Wars), are a vivid mosaic of the Soviet intelligence apparatus in its heyday. Kondrashev was recruited to the KGB during WWII as an interpreter; in 1947 his English skills led to an assignment targeting the American embassy. Stalin's purge of the security apparatus brought Kondrashev promotion; that it was a 'recurring nightmare' led him to transfer to the less visible Foreign Intelligence section. 'Handling' British mole George Blake, then moving to the Austro/German Department, Kondrashev built simultaneous reputations as a loyal apparatchik and a sophisticated operative. The combination eventually returned him to Moscow and the KGB's 'active measures' department, responsible for disinformation operations in the West. Kondrashev's discussions of their genesis and implementation comprise the book's most valuable element. There are no startling revelations — Bagley regularly refers to 'drama still largely hidden' — but the details flesh out still-unfamiliar aspects of the espionage war while illuminating a man who 'made internal peace' with the system he served so well." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The memoirs of a high-ranking espionage chief as confided to his ex–CIA agent friend.
About the Author
Tennent H. Bagley served for twenty-two years in the Central Intelligence Agency, where he handled spies and defectors in the clandestine services division before becoming chief of Soviet bloc counterintelligence. The author of Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games, Bagley lives in Brussels, Belgium.
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Biography » Historical