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Spy stories provide endless fascination. Many are difficult to verify. Fact and fiction often are difficult to distinguish. This is especially true now with a torrent released by the end of the Cold War enveloping readers. One of the best starting points to begin following Atomic spy issues is a fine example of the best kind of curious, investigative journalism: Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel, Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy (New York: Times Books, 1997). The somewhat outdated standard study of the earliest confirmed atomic spy still makes good reading. Robert C. Williams, Klaus Fuchs, Atomic Spy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988). The FBI's Freedom of Information Act public documents website has posted recently some interesting documents on British citizens spying for the Soviet, see: "Burgess, Maclean and Philby," at:


A handy guide to help those making their way through the wilderness of mirrors is: Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen, The Encyclopedia of Espionage (New York: Random House, 1998); another is: Harry T. Mahoney, Marjorie Locke Mahoney, Biographic Dictionary of Espionage (New York: Austin & Winfield, 1998). Another good general resource is Jeffrey T. Richelson, A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (New). A less reliable defector's perspective filled with telling insights remains,Oleg Gordievsky and Christopher Andrew, KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (New York: HarperCollins, 1990). Essential reading for those interested in the Anglo-American-Moscow connection is Genrikh Borovik and Phillip Knightly, The Philby Files: The Secret Life of Master Spy Kim Philby. British writers, naturally have created and are producing a vast literature on Philby's Cambridge circle of Communists turned upper crust spies. Important facts are put in perspective by a more recent KGB spy turned brave democratic politician and business consultant: Oleg Kalugin with Fen Montaigne, The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994). A contentious work full of nuggets of information as well as unsubstantiated accusation is Pavel Sudaplatov and Anatoly Sudaplatov, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness: A Soviet Spymaster (Boston: Little, Brown, 1994). The classic Cold War (ghosted) spy memoir, billed by thriller writer Graham Greene as, "Far more gripping than any novel of espionage I can remember," is Kim Philby, My Silent War (London: Granada, 1973).

Reliable history's of the secret police are: George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1981); Amy Knight, The KGB: Police and Politics in the Soviet Union (Boston: Unwin/Hyman, 1990); Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Spies Without Cloaks: The KGB's Successors (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). Also valuable is, Robert Conquest, Inside Stalin's Secret Police: NKVD Politics:1936-39 (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1985). Contrarian views are presented in a provocative volume, J. Arch Getty and Roberta T. Manning (eds) Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). A sometime breathless tale of evil runs through Herbert Romerstein and Stanislav Levchenko, The KGB Against the Main Enemy: How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates Against the United States (Lexington: Lexington Books, 1989).

The best insights into Stalin come from Robert C. Tucker, Stalin as a Revolutionary 1879-1929: A Study in History and Personality (New York: W.W. Norton, 1973); Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941 (New York: W.W.Norton, 1990). Also important is: Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990) as well as vital, Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973).

As a model of investigation and outstanding scholarship, one of the best books of the 1990's that demonstrates all the virtues of the literature of fact is:
David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy 1939-1956 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994). A very readable parallel volume is Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New).

A superior general history of Soviet and post-Soviet affairs that takes into account the most recent western scholarship is Ronald G. Suny, The Soviet Experiment: Russia, The USSR and The Successor States (New ). A pioneering examination of the Soviet's role in a satellite state, including how the hunt for uranium shaped Soviet policy in prostrate eastern Germany, well worth reading is: Norman Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995) A good general work on the interrelationship between science and Communist politics is, Stephen Fortescue, The Communist Party and Soviet Science (London: Macmillian, 1987). Another treatment of the same material is, Peter Kneen, Soviet Scientists and the State (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). A fine work on the exceptional world of physics is Paul Josephson, Physics and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1991). A more personal account which includes telling observation about Kurchatov is, Roald Z. Sagdeev, The Making of a Soviet Scientists: My Adventures in Nuclear Fusion and Space from Stalin to Star Wars. Edited by Susan Eisenhower (New York: John Wiley & Son, 1994).

The one man who has done more to advance the history of Soviet Science in America is Loren R. Graham. A good quick summary of this subject is Loren R. Graham, Science in Russia and the Soviet Union: A Short History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993). His book on the impact of science and technology on Soviet society is equally useful. Loren R. Graham (ed.) Science and the Soviet Social Order (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990). Those interested in how Marxism influenced Soviet science would do well to read, Loren R. Graham, Science, Philosophy, and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987). An important work on the problems scientists encountered in recent decades is Harley D. Balzer, Soviet Science on the Edge of Reform (). Balzer is at work on a long anticipated study of the history of engineers in Russian and Soviet society. The very well connected former dissident, Zhores Medvedev, wrote a very insightful book, Soviet Science (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978) his twin brother wrote one of the key books on the sins of Stalinism. Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989).

The history of repression under Stalin and the Gulag system is enormous. Besides Medvedev's seminal work key books include: Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin's Purges of Thirties (London: Penguin Books, 1968)

Much of the most important information on espionage is just now coming out.

Cold War International History Project presents cutting-edge research in a sane, sober fashion. As its title indicates, people from throughout the world contribute to this historical effort.


See, for example:

Stalin's Secret Order: Build the Bomb "On A Russian Scale"
or the important admonition on sifting the literature coming out of the former Soviet Union, Vladislav Zubok,
"Atomic Espionage and Its Soviet "Witnesses"
With a partner Zubok has written one of the more important books of the glasnost era. It really is an example vital new knowledge, not to mention new perspectives: Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).

The Venona Project provides terrific primary source materials. Robert L. Benson, Introductory History of Venona and Guide to the Translation (Venona Historical Monograph #1) (Fort Meade: National Security Agency, July 1995); The 1942-43 New York-Moscow KGB Messages (Venona Historical Monograph #2) (Fort Meade: National Security Agency, October 1995); Robert L. Benson and Michael Warner (eds) Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (Washington: National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, 1996) Digital reproductions of declassified Venona documents can be read on line. [The National Security Agency-Venona Digital] A Venona volume reverberating with right-wing righteousness is, John E. Hayne, Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999)

Passions about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg still have not cooled. To get a flavor of the ongoing heated feelings their case and their execution generated looked the discussion at:


Books have not yet caught up with the new information pouring out of the archives and the memories of ex-NKVD, KGB agents such as the man who ran Julius Rosenberg, Alexander Feklisov. The most useful starting point is:


Important books about the Rosenberg case include: Michael Meeropool (ed.) The Rosenberg Letters (New York: Garland Publishing, 1994); Alvin Goldstein, The Unquiet Death of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (New York: Lawrence Hill, 1975); A classic work of a prominent lawyer, Loius Nizer, The Conspiracy Implosion (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1973) An "instant history" time capsule is Oliver Pilat, The Atom Spies (New York: Putnam's, 1952). The standard indictment of the Rosenbergs remains, Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton, The Rosenberg File (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1983) The classic defense of the Rosenberg's innocence is Walter and Miriam Schneir, Walter and Miriam, Invitation to an Inquest (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983) [They come to terms with their wrong-headedness in "Cryptic Answers. The Case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg" The Nation August 14, 1995 p.152]; A first person account by the Rosenberg's co-defendant is very emotional. Morton Sobel, On Doing Time (New York: Scribner & Sons, 1974) The limits of FBI competency in dealing with spies is evident in the "FBI Documents Regarding Julius and Ethel Rosenberg" at:



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