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

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


Book Overview: The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

The Sword and the Shield is based on one of the most extraordinary intelligence coups of recent times: a secret archive of top-level KGB documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union which the FBI has described, after close examination, as the "most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." Its presence in the West represents a catastrophic hemorrhage of the KGB's secrets and reveals for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network. Vasili Mitrokhin, a secret dissident who worked in the KGB archive, smuggled out copies of its most highly classified files every day for twelve years. In 1992, a U.S. ally succeeded in exfiltrating the KGB officer and his entire archive out of Moscow.

The archive covers the entire period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the 1980s and includes revelations concerning almost every country in the world. But the KGB's main target, of course, was the United States. Though there is top-secret material on almost every country in the world, the United States is at the top of the list. As well as containing many fascinating revelations, this is a major contribution to the secret history of the twentieth century. Among the topics and revelations explored are: The KGB's covert operations in the United States and throughout the West, some of which remain dangerous today. KGB files on Oswald and the JFK assassination that Boris Yeltsin almost certainly has no intention of showing President Clinton. The KGB's attempts to discredit civil rights leader in the 1960s, including its infiltration of the inner circle of a key leader.

The KGB's use of radio intercept posts in New York and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s to intercept high-level U.S. government communications. The KGB's attempts to steal technological secrets from major U.S. aerospace and technology corporations. KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president. KGB spies who successfully posed as U.S. citizens under a series of ingenious disguises, including several who attained access to the upper echelons of New York society.

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PublisherBasic Books
Publication Date1999-09-05
EditionFirst Edition
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Christopher Andrew, one of the most distinguished scholars of security and intelligence services, is renowned for his influential works in the field of international and political history. A British historian with a deep focus on international intelligence, Andrew has consistently bridged the gap between academic rigour and public appeal, blending intricate research with powerful narrative style in his writings. Born in 1941, he studied at Oxford University and later joined Cambridge University where he served as the official historian for the British Security Service (MI5). His flair for deciphering complex historical intelligence data has birthed numerous best-selling and award-winning books, including "The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5" and the groundbreaking "The Sword and the Shield". Andrew's contributions in providing a comprehensive understanding of global intelligence history are unparalleled. Despite his impressive academic commitments, he has made time for various television and radio constructions, further amplifying his influence in the field. Christopher Andrew remains a leading authority in his sphere, leveraging his profound knowledge and storytelling skill to paint vivid canvases of history's secret shadows.
Vasili Mitrokhin, a Russian historian celebrated for his unparalleled insight into Soviet espionage, was born in 1922 in Yurasovo, Central Russia. As a skilled, meticulously oriented archivist for the KGB, Mitrokhin's career saw him collect invaluable information on Soviet spy operations right at the heart of the Cold War. The biggest turning point in Mitrokhin's life came in 1992 after the Soviet Union's dissolution. Leveraging his information, he defected to the United Kingdom. His compiled work, later known as the ‘Mitrokhin Archive,’ exposed crucial clandestine operations, significantly impacting the world's understanding of the conflict between the East and West. Author of the critically acclaimed books "The Sword and the Shield" and "The World Was Going Our Way," Mitrokhin passed away in 2004, leaving a legacy that transformed global reading of the Cold War's clandestine affairs. His work continues to resonate in intelligence and national security circles across the globe.


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