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Download The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal, by David E. Hoffman Click for printable size audiobook cover
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (3 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David E. Hoffman Narrator: Dan Woren Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Dead Hand comes the riveting story of the CIA’s most valuable spy in the Soviet Union and an evocative portrait of the agency’s Moscow station, an outpost of daring espionage in the last years of the Cold War.

While getting into his car on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station was handed an envelope by an unknown Russian. Its contents stunned the Americans: details of top-secret Soviet research and development in military technology that was totally unknown to the United States.

From 1979 to 1985, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer at a military research center, cracked open the secret Soviet military research establishment, using his access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of material about the latest advances in aviation technology, alerting the Americans to possible developments years in the future. He was one of the most productive and valuable spies ever to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA, as well as interviews with participants, Hoffman reveals how the depredations of the Soviet state motivated one man to master the craft of spying against his own nation until he was betrayed to the KGB by a disgruntled former CIA trainee. No one has ever told this story before in such detail, and Hoffman’s deep knowledge of spycraft, the Cold War, and military technology makes him uniquely qualified to bring readers this real-life espionage thriller.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In an era of suicide bombers and ISIS beheadings, the spy dramas of the Cold War can seem tame, almost polite affairs. Central Intelligence Agency officers who worked in the Soviet capital complained about operating under ‘Moscow rules,’ meaning the relentless scrutiny of the KGB. And they knew that any Soviet citizen caught spying faced certain execution. Still, there were rules. Those rules may actually be a reason that David Hoffman’s The Billion Dollar Spy, about Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet radar expert who spied for the CIA, is such an engrossing tale. The story played out over several years, almost entirely on the streets of Moscow, in a twilit chess game that pitted American intelligence officers against their Soviet counterparts.”

    New York Times

  • “Gripping and nerve-wracking…Human tension hangs over every page of The Billion Dollar Spy like the smell of leaded gasoline…Hoffman knows the intelligence world well and has expertly used recently declassified documents to tell this unsettling and suspenseful story… It’s worth the clenched jaw and upset stomach it creates.”

    USA Today

  • The Billion Dollar Spy is one of the best spy stories to come out of the Cold War and all the more riveting, and finally dismaying, for being true. It hits the sweet spot between page-turning thriller and solidly researched history (even the footnotes are informative) and then becomes something more, a shrewd character study of spies and the spies who run them, the mixed motives, the risks, the almost inevitable bad end.”

    Washington Post

  • “David E. Hoffman’s scrupulously reported The Billion Dollar Spy, a true-life tale so gripping at times it reads like spy fiction…Hoffman interviewed key players and gained access to more than nine hundred pages of long-secret CIA files and operational cables to fill in a crucial gap in the Cold War espionage canon.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for History
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