Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
WATERSTONES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH AUGUST 2018 AND A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'An astonishingly detailed picture of espionage in the 1980s, written with pacey journalistic verve and an eerily contemporary feel.' Ben Macintyre, The Times
'A gripping story of courage, professionalism, and betrayal in the secret world.' Rodric Braithwaite, British Ambassador in Moscow, 1988-1992
'One of the best spy stories to come out of the Cold War and all the more riveting for being true.' Washington Post
January, 1977. While the chief of the CIA's Moscow station fills his gas tank, a stranger drops a note into the car.
In the years that followed, that stranger, Adolf Tolkachev, became one of the West's most valuable spies. At enormous risk Tolkachev and his handlers conducted clandestine meetings across Moscow, using spy cameras, props, and private codes to elude the KGB in its own backyard - until a shocking betrayal put them all at risk.
Drawing on previously classified CIA documents and interviews with first-hand participants, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting and a riveting true story from the final years of the Cold War.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Map -- Prologue -- Out of the Wilderness -- Moscow Station -- A Man Called Sphere -- "Finally I have reached you" -- "A dissident at heart" -- Six Figures -- Spy Camera -- Windfalls and Hazards -- The Billion Dollar Spy -- Flight of Utopia -- Going Black -- Devices and Desires -- Tormented by the Past -- "Everything is dangerous" -- Not Caught Alive -- Seeds of Betrayal -- Vanquish -- Selling Out -- Without Warning -- On the Run -- "For freedom" -- Epilogue -- A Note on the Intelligence.
"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. Tolkachev took enormous personal risks, but so did his CIA handlers. Moscow station was a dangerous posting to the KGB's backyard. The CIA had long struggled to recruit and run agents in Moscow, and Tolkachev became a singular breakthrough. With hidden cameras and secret codes, and in face-to-face meetings with CIA case officers in parks and on street corners, Tolkachev and the CIA worked to elude the feared KGB. 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"--Provided by publisher. Provided by publisher.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hoffman's (The Dead Hand) gripping and informative history covers U.S. espionage against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Focusing on Adolf Tolkachev, who served as a spy inside the Soviet Union for more than 20 years before being betrayed, the author sets out to write the story of a spy and in so doing, chronicles Cold War espionage and an overall compelling tale that draws on secret documents from the CIA as well as interviews with surviving participants. Hoffman succeeds on both accounts. VERDICT This well-written volume will be of interest to many, from general readers interested in espionage to academics looking for research on either espionage or the history of Cold War-era international relations, in particular the long-unavailable history of Cold War spy tactics and the people who took part in them. [See Prepub Alert, 1/5/15.]-John Sandstrom, New Mexico State Univ. Lib., Las Cruces © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Pulitzer-winner Hoffman returns to the Cold War era in his latest, a biography of Adolf Tolkachev, a Russian engineer who in 1977 approached the CIA offering his services as a spy for America. For over half a decade, Tolkachev gave the U.S. priceless information on the latest Russian technological advances, until his capture and subsequent execution. Woren provides the perfect narration for this book. His deep, well modulated voice brings just the right amount of formal authority to hold the listener's attention, but never falls into a drone of professorial lecturing. His phrasing, tone, and characterizations, especially his Russian characters, bring to life each clandestine meeting, each secretive exchange of information, and every moment of danger. He pulls the listener into the story and turns what could have been dry and boring into something as captivating and enthralling as a John le Carré spy novel. A Doubleday hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hoffman (The Dead Hand, 2009), using declassified documents from the CIA, interviews, and other accounts, here details the last years of U.S.-USSR Cold War espionage. How to trust those wanting to pass information along, when the KGB seemed to have eyes everywhere and a man on every corner? Being caught by the KGB meant instant expulsion from the USSR for U.S. citizens, but for those providing the secrets often ground-shaking information about Soviet technology the consequences were much worse: disappearance, execution, even suicide (rather than divulging what they knew and what they had done). Hoffman carefully sets the scene with both cautious and free-wheeling CIA directors and staff and also provides intimate details that prove fascinating and give human faces to these brave participants, including spies often known by code names and encountered in fast drops (e.g., envelopes slipped through open car windows). The book's hero who gave the U.S. technological information worth billions, with the technology still in use today is Adolf Tolkachev, a Russian engineer, and Hoffman's revealing of him as a person and a spy is brilliantly done, making this mesmerizing true story scary and thrilling. For a fuller history of Soviet espionage, see Jonathan Haslam's Near and Distant Neighbors: A New History of Soviet Intelligence, reviewed below.--Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A thoroughly researched excavation of an astoundingly important (and sadly sacrificed) spy for the CIA during the low point of the 1970s. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his previous book, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (2009), Washington Post contributing editor Hoffman has strong credentials to tell the unheralded story of Adolf Tolkachev (1927-1986), a radar engineer who offered invaluable information on the state of arms technology in the Soviet Union until he was snagged by the KGB in 1985 and executed soon after. The CIA was scrambling to make a connection in the Soviet Union after the loss of the extremely productive spy Oleg Penkovsky for clandestine acquisition of technology for the West in the 1960s, though the agency was hampered by the "long shadow" cast by ultraparanoid chief of Moscow counterintelligence James Angleton, who believed the KGB was employing a "vast master plan' of deception," and thus he trusted no one. Once he left in 1975, a younger generation of more enterprising officers trained in Berlin and other Eastern Bloc citiese.g., Burton Gerber, who advocated for rigorous sifting of genuine sources from phony ones. Consequently, when a Russian engineer at Moscow's Scientific Research Institute for Radio Engineering repeatedly approached American diplomats with his declared access to the development of a "look-down, shoot-down" radar system, they finally paid attention. Given the code name CKSPHERE, Tolkachev was motivated to photograph reams of priceless documents out of deep resentment of the "impassable, hypocritical demagoguery" of the Soviet state. Inspired by famous defectors Viktor Belenko and Andrei Sakharov, Tolkachev also wanted moneythe "six figures" that Belenko reportedly got, as well as rock albums for his teenage son, all of which would push him to take too many risks. Hoffman ably navigates the many strands of this complex espionage story. An intricate, mesmerizing portrayal of the KGB-CIA spy culture. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.