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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 Audiobook, by Christopher Andrew Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (425 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455176076
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Based on unprecedented access to a secret archive of intelligence, The Sword and the Shield presents by far the most complete picture we have ever had of the KGB and its operations in the United States and Europe, revealing for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network.

Vasili Mitrokhin worked for almost thirty years in the foreign intelligence archives of the KGB. Mitrokhin spent over a decade making notes and transcripts of these highly classified files which, at enormous personal risk, he smuggled daily out of the archives and kept beneath his dacha floor. Now he has offered Christopher Andrew exclusive access to his archive. The picture that emerges in this sobering book will force us to acknowledge that there was indeed an enemy—and that he was very much in our midst.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sweeping, densely documented history…Thanks to Comrade Mitrokhin, the KGB and most who spied for it have been stripped naked.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Sword and the Shield will stand as an indispensable reference work on Soviet espionage for years to come.”

    Washington Post

  • “Stranger than fiction…Aficionados of espionage will be rummaging through this enormously detailed book for years.”

    New Republic

  • “The information contained in these notes is amazing…Veteran reader Whitfield’s reading is a nice match of text and narrator…His even-tempered voice steadily moves from one revelation to the next.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pat | 2/18/2014

    " Dense material. Tried a couple of times but kept losing interest. Finally listened to book on tape. Probably better as a resource than as something to read all the way through. A bit too encyclopedic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Raymond | 2/15/2014

    " I majored in Soviet studies and traveled extensivly in the USSR and the satellite countries. The mysteries were endless and now we can finally figure out the answers to questions that have remained since 1917. The KGB and the history of the USSR are open for all to see and this book is perhaps the most significant book on the Soviet Union since "Let History Judge." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 2/11/2014

    " Fantastic Book! The only thing that keeps it from 5 stars is that it is not the easiest book to read. It packs so much information about so many people that its easy to lose track. The writing is difficult but the feat that one man accomplished to get all this information out of the country is worth at least an attempted read and it took me a while to finish. However, this is the most in depth and educational book I've ever read about the KGB and inner workings of their organization with spies and other countries. It is one of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 1/27/2014

    " The real-life stories behind spies and espionage throughout the USSR's long, long history. A surprisingly fascinating 600-page romp drawing mostly on one source: an archive of the KGB's most secret files, painstakingly assembled over a 12-year period by a secret dissident KGB archivist and only smuggled out of Russia in 1992. It's really cool to think that hardly any of this information ever would have come to light without the courageous daily work of Mitrokhin, who hand-copied thousands of pages of KGB top-secret reports and hid them under his house and in his attic for years. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marvin Goodman | 1/25/2014

    " 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 Eric | 1/24/2014

    " if you want to win a game you must know your enemy "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shaun Cole | 1/17/2014

    " A fascinating insight into the world of the KGB. Unfortunately the second volume doesn't show on here but I would definitely recommend both of these. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill Sleeman | 12/17/2013

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

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave | 12/16/2013

    " Lots of good info in here but so heavily filtered by the British and American Intelligence Services that what's left is mostly stuff we already knew. A shame. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 12/14/2013

    " If you want to follow spycraft from the KGB point of view from the revolution to the 70s, this is *the* book. Long, detailed, dry, but by no means uninteresting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 12/14/2013

    " Not an easy read, but lots of very interesting stuff if you are interested in the cold war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen | 12/11/2013

    " This really is a tome. Intersting to browse if there are certain episodes of the Cold War in which you're interested, but not something you'd want to read cover to cover. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carlos Santos | 4/21/2013

    " This was a very interesting book. A definate must read if you are interested in the KGB. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jim | 4/2/2013

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leila Borazjani | 3/30/2013

    " Long but fascinating. Well worth the time it took to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rodney Bond | 12/22/2012

    " Well written. Great true tales of the Cold War. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Callister | 11/10/2012

    " Fascinating. It gave me a fresh prospective on American history--a rare glimpse into the secrets that have affected nations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 8/13/2012

    " Great and fascinating book about KGB and its actions in Europe. A book for global conspiracy lovers. Planning reading second part. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh Scarabin | 7/17/2012

    " Interesting but could have been cut down to about 350-400 pgs. There were too many acronyms and names to keep up with. It was hard keeping up. I think this book should be rewritten. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 6/3/2012

    " I don't think we fully appreciate yet the revelations that are in this book. "

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About the Author
Author Christopher AndrewChristopher Andrew is Britain’s leading historian of intelligence, professor of modern and contemporary history and chair of the faculty of history at Cambridge University. He is also chair of the British Intelligence Study Group, coeditor of Intelligence and National Security, former visiting professor at Harvard, Toronto, and the Australian National University, and a regular presenter of BBC Radio and TV documentaries. His thirteen previous books include The Mitrokhin Archive, volumes 1 and 2, and a number of groundbreaking studies on the use and abuse of secret intelligence in modern history.
About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.