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A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid ToSave His Countryby Benjamin Weiser
Synopses & Reviews
For almost a decade, Col. Ryszard Kuklinski hetrayed the Communist leadership of Poland, cooperating with the CIA in one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Now that Poland is free, a riddle remains: Was Kuklinski a patriot or a traitor? In August 1972, Ryszard Kuklinski, a highly respected colonel in the Polish Army, embarked on what would become one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Despite the extreme risk to himself and his family, he contacted the American Embassy in Bonn, and arranged a secret meeting. From the very start, he made clear that he deplored the Soviet domination of Poland, and believed his country was on the wrong side of the Cold War. Over the next nine years, Kuklinski rose quickly in the Polish defense ministry, acting as a liaison to Moscow, and helping to prepare for a "hot war" with the West. But he also lived a life of subterfuge--of dead drops, messages written in invisible ink, miniature cameras, and secret transmitters. In 1981, he gave the CIA the secret plans to crush Solidarity. Then, about to be discovered, he made a dangerous escape with his family to the West. He still lives in hiding in America. Kuklinski's story is a harrowing personal drama about one man's decision to betray the Communist leadership in order to save the country he loves, and the intense debate it spurred over whether he was a traitor or a patriot. Through extensive interviews and access to the CIA's secret archive on the case, Benjamin Weiser offers an unprecedented and richly detailed look at this secret history of the Cold War.
Book News Annotation:
Before joining the New York Times in 1997, Weiser worked for the Washington Post for 18 years. In 1992, while at the Post, Weiser published two articles on Ryszard Kuklinski (1930- ), a former Polish official who was a crucial source of information for the West in a nine-year, clandestine operation leading to dramatic changes in Poland in the 1980s. Recently, in an unusual arrangement with the CIA, Weiser was granted access to the agency's internal files on the operation. He draws upon the detailed information gained from those files and from additional interviews with Kuklinski—now living in the U.S.— to create this full, book length account of Kuklinski's covert activities.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
For almost a decade, Col.Ryszard Kuklinski betrayed the Communist leadership of Poland, cooperating with the CIA in one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Here, Benjamin Weiser offers a detailed look at this secret history of the Cold War.
For almost a decade, Col. Ryszard Kuklinski betrayed the Communist leadership of Poland, cooperating with the CIA in one of the most extraordinary intelligence operations of the Cold War. But even after freedom came to Poland, a riddle remained: was Kuklinski a patriot or a traitor?
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