The Washington Post
The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Serviceby Andrew Meier, David Chandler
"For half a century, the case of Isaiah Oggins, an American brutally murdered in 1947 on Stalin's orders, remained sealed in the secret files of the KGB and the FBI - a footnote buried in the rubble of the cold war. In 1992, it surfaced only briefly, when Boris Yeltsin handed over a dossier to the White House. But the real story of what happened to Isaiah "Cy" Oggins,… See more details below
"For half a century, the case of Isaiah Oggins, an American brutally murdered in 1947 on Stalin's orders, remained sealed in the secret files of the KGB and the FBI - a footnote buried in the rubble of the cold war. In 1992, it surfaced only briefly, when Boris Yeltsin handed over a dossier to the White House. But the real story of what happened to Isaiah "Cy" Oggins, one of the first Americans to spy for the Soviet Union, remained an elusive mystery, even to his own family." The Lost Spy charts Cy Oggins's evolution, from his birth in 1898 in a Connecticut mill town to his graduation from Columbia, to recruitment by Soviet operatives. Enlisting in Stalin's secret service, Oggins embarked on his odyssey in 1928. In Berlin, Oggins posed as a wealthy antiquarian dealer to run a strategic safe house. In Manchuria, Oggins served behind enemy lines, spying on the Japanese occupiers and their emperor.
The Washington Post
Former TimeMoscow correspondent Meier (Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall) tells a remarkable story about Cy Oggins, a Columbia University undergraduate who joined the fledgling Communist Party in 1920. Recruited by Soviet intelligence in 1926, he went to Europe in the guise of an academic; his residences acted as centers for Soviet espionage. After 1930 he sailed to China and Manchuria for various undercover schemes, then traveled to Moscow in 1939 during Stalin's purges. Despite long, loyal service, he was arrested and sent to an Arctic gulag and despite frantic pleas for Oggins's release from his wife, and more modest U.S. government efforts, the Soviets murdered Oggins in 1947 to keep his story from getting out. In Soviet archives, Meier saw a heavily censored fraction of Oggins's 162-page file, supplemented by the FBI's massive records, compiled thanks to J. Edgar Hoover's lifelong fixation on Communists. These files plus the author's extensive research have produced a rich account of American communism's early years as well as the bizarre, tragic odyssey of an American who devoted his life to serving the U.S.S.R. 16 pages of illus. (Aug. 11)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journalist/historian Meier (Black Earth) draws a well-written, comprehensive portrait of the life of American-born Soviet operative Isaiah "Cy" Oggins. He uses interviews with Oggins's American son, U.S. diplomatic and intelligence files, and an abridged copy of Oggins's KGB/Soviet archive file to inform his study while proposing intelligent scenarios for the story's undocumented and shadowy periods. Actor/narrator David Chandler (Copper River) gives a clear and articulate reading, especially when the narrative's complexity and shifting time lines require heightened listener concentration. A great addition to nonfiction collections. [With tracks every three minutes for bookmarking; the Norton hc was "highly recommended," LJ4/1/08.-Ed.]
Kristen L. Smith
- Recorded Books, LLC
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