From the dark days of World War II through the Cold War, Sergey A. Kondrashev was a major player in Russia’s 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 Kondrashev’s 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 Carr. This includes chilling tales of surviving Stalin’s 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 Putin’s 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.
©2013 Tennent H. Bagley (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"An brilliant personal Cold War perspective"
A fascinating story of the personal life of a man who survived the Stalin purges, participated in events that molded the Cold War, and a transparent view of "of the other side".
I couldn't stop listening to these stories. Spy stories are always fun, even when they are fiction. But hearing from a master spy of the Cold War era from the other side, his story being told from another spy for the CIA makes for an incredible book. At times it was almost disheartening to hear the tales of betrayal. At other times exhilarating to hear about our achievements.
Overall the story of Kondrashev was a puzzling one. It was hard to understand how he could work so hard for a regime that he felt so conflicted about. Though it was perhaps even more intriguing to hear how he slowly got caught up in the whole apparatus and finds himself with little choice but to work for the regime, and at the same time to see how he rationalizes it as being for the love of those people that were being terrorized by it.
Bronson Pinchot does a superb job with the narration catching the inflections and the voice of the text. If you like spy stories, cold war history, soviet history, or want to understand Russian culture even today, this book will be of great benefit to you.
"The true story of a former Russian spy"
The idea of the memoirs of an ex-KGB officer.
One part made me laugh, the story involving the paintings of Politburo members and a switchboard in the Soviet embassy in Britain.
"Such high hopes."
The narration was well done, but the writing is awfully dry. Even the best performance could not do much to elevate what should be a riveting account of the KGB in the Cold War USSR. I wish Bagley had utilized a writer to aide him in the telling of this tale.
"good book that is well written"
enjoyed this story was great to listen to and easy to understand the narrator I would recommend it
"The Source Is More Valuable that the Secret"
The world of espionage is always fascinating. This is an account of one spy’s career from Stalin’s era to the time of Gorbashev. The story of Sergey Kondrashev, told posthumously, contains secrets he was not able to relate in his own autobiography. One of the revelations was an insight into one of the primary causes of the Korean War.
I always enjoy the sonorous voice of Bronson Pinchot. When narrating fiction I appreciate his dramatic character voices. This being a non-fiction book, we have to settle for his soothing voice, precise diction and great pacing.
"Well worth the listen"
Very interesting story, with great relevance to current political situation in Russia, well read and performed.
this is an extraordinary tale that I will listen to again and it will surely still hold my attention. so fascinating!
"is really good story of a man that lived"
is a really good story of a man that lived in the center of history
"Great cold war stories of espionage"
I like this book because of the nature of two former enemies sharing war stories. It's one of the better nonfiction books on the cold war that I have listened to so far
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