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Download The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, by Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (426 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin Narrator: Charles Stransky Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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As 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.

Written with historian Christopher Andrew and backed with meticulous supporting research, what emerges is a chilling chronicle of murder and treachery, slander and corruption, paranoia and purges. KGB placed agents high within British intelligence agencies and American defense contractors; yet they failed to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, Senator Scoop Jackson or President Ronald Reagan. And their massive information gathering brought them no international advantages; to the end Soviet officials remained baffled by the West. The Sword and the Shield is a compelling—and historically significant—narrative destined to cast new light on the Soviet era.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Scott Martin | 1/21/2014

    " This is a book that I have had for a long, long time, but had never got around to finishing (by long time...since I was in college). An interesting perspective on Soviet history and the role that the Checka/NVKD/KGB/FSB played in Soviet history. Having studied Russian history, a lot wasn't that new, but in most of the stories about the Soviet Union, the years between Khruschev and Gorbachev tend to get glossed over. Given the power of Andropov (as KGB head and then Soviet Primer), it is not surprising that the KGB played a prominent role in political actions and through their actions, you get a sense of what was happening in the Soviet Union during this declining period. The scary part is just how effective the Soviet Intelligence Service was in the 1940s and 1950s. McCarthy may have been a douche of major proportions, but there was a strong degree of infiltration by the KGB. The strongest was in the UK and the Magnificent 5, who gave Stalin just about everything there was to be had about the US and the UK. Yet, even this was underutilized, further proof that intelligence is only as good as the people who act on it. A long read, but very informative. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Marvin Goodman | 11/18/2013

    " First of all, I'm filled with respect for the dedication it took for Vasili Mitrokhin to painstakingly copy thousands upon thousands of documents, as a KGB archivist, and secretly store them under his home. The trove most assuredly has been of incalculable value to historians and western intelligence agencies. Because I've always been a fan of the espionage genre - both historical and fictional - I expected to binge-read this book, growing drunk on previously unavailable levels of detail and accuracy in real-life spy drama. Well, I don't "binge-read" anything, considering how methodically I read and how quickly I fall asleep when I finally make my way to bed, but getting through this book was an arduous slog. More than its daunting 600 page length, it was the awkward pacing that continually tripped me up. Because of the organization (traversing the period of history detailed in Mitrokhin's archive not chronologically, but rather by adversary country or espionage method) I was constantly bouncing from decade to decade, and had difficulty in applying a timeline to what I was reading. You'll find this criticism shallow, I suspect, but I was particularly off-put by the rendering (in brackets) of the multiple code names assigned to every character described in the book. Undoubtedly this was done to underscore the credibility of the information, and to position the book as a reference source, but it quickly started to aggravate me, and made the sentences clumsy to read and digest. By the time I had gotten halfway through the book, I was really sick of it, and found myself wishing, on every page, that I had a digest version of the thing, half the length, and arranged more chronologically. Still, I doggedly slogged on, more at the prospect of picking up fascinating little espionage stories (which I frequently did) than out of some stubborn insistence on finishing what I'd started. I really believe that the way this book is edited and arranged, combined with its vast length, would cause perhaps a fourth of well-intentioned readers to abandon it before they complete it. I now despair of what to do with the sequel, "The World Was Going Our Way," which now mocks me from my to-be-read shelf. I suspect that I'll do little more than flip through a chapter or two, unless the structure and style turn out to be very different. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bill Sleeman | 11/13/2013

    " While I cannot claim to be an expert in Russian/Soviet era espionage this was a thoroughly interesting and informative book. Fascinating reading - "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jim | 11/9/2013

    " Lengthy not the easiest read. great deal of information some not that that interesting. "

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