Operation Kronstadt: The True Story of Honor, Espionage, and the Rescue of Britain's Greatest Spy, the Man with a Hundred Faces

Operation Kronstadt: The True Story of Honor, Espionage, and the Rescue of Britain's Greatest Spy, the Man with a Hundred Faces

by Harry Ferguson
     
 

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In May 1919, mere months after the guns of World War I had fallen silent, the Russian Revolution was roaring and the Bolsheviks' Red Army had begun to take the upper hand against the U.S. and British-backed White Army.
Paul Dukes - a 30-year-old concert pianist, master of disguise dubbed 'The Man with a Hundred Faces,' and the only English spy in Russia - was

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Overview

In May 1919, mere months after the guns of World War I had fallen silent, the Russian Revolution was roaring and the Bolsheviks' Red Army had begun to take the upper hand against the U.S. and British-backed White Army.
Paul Dukes - a 30-year-old concert pianist, master of disguise dubbed 'The Man with a Hundred Faces,' and the only English spy in Russia - was cut off in Petrograd after infiltrating the Bolshevik Government and stealing top-secret information.
With the government in London desperately in need of the documents in Dukes1 possession and the Bolshevik secret police closing in, a seemingly suicidal plan was hatched to rescue Dukes. 29-year-old naval lieutenant Gus Agar and his handpicked team of seven men boarded plywood boats-the fastest naval vessels in existence, most armed with only two machine guns and a single torpedo. They set out for the island fortress of Kronstadt, the most well-defended naval target in Russian, and into the jaws of the Soviet police.
Written by a former MI6 officer in the tradition of Agent Zigzag, Operation Kronstadt is an extraordinarily gripping non- fiction thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A tale of adventure, honor, and raw courage quite as exciting as anything found in fiction." —The Daily Mail
Library Journal

Two stories are told here, one of the all-but-forgotten British master spy, Paul Dukes, and the other of his rescue from Petrograd in 1919 by a Royal Navy team led by Lt. Gus Agar. Both are told with an insider's expertise and enthusiasm that keep the pages turning. Ferguson, a former MI6 officer and former undercover agent for the National Investigation Service, is not afraid to note the fumblings, mistakes, and infighting perpetrated by Britain's intelligence services during this, their formative period (1918-20). Dukes, the only British spy in Bolshevik Russia at this period of the Russian Revolution, managed to infiltrate the government and come away with important top-secret information. Next, all he had to do was get back to friendly territory. Enter Agar and Agar's hand-picked team of seven men and the fastest naval vessels in the world-made of plywood and powered by aircraft engines! Add to this mix the Soviet fleet and the Baltic island fortress of Kronstadt, and you have a totally engaging true story. Highly recommended.
—David Lee Poremba

Kirkus Reviews
A sometimes sluggish recitation of a thrilling episode at the dawn of the Bolshevik era. Former MI6 operative Ferguson ventures that the findings of British spies in Russia during the civil-war era should have encouraged intervention to bring down the vulnerable Communist regime, which would have spared the West a great deal of trouble in the decades to come. But much of the action he recounts here was characterized by bad guesses, misinterpretations and crossed signals, for which Ferguson lays much blame at the door of early spymaster Mansfield Cumming ("the myth that he was an intelligence mastermind persists to this day"). In the contested theater of operations around Petrograd, a British agent named Paul Dukes had been caught in the Bolshevik lines, bearing sensitive documents. The only way to get him out, the stalwarts of the Royal Navy concluded, was to mount a daring raid. Ferguson's novelistic touches in setting the scene are heavy-handed-"At long last, the grey-haired officer removed his spectacles and slipped a gold rimmed monocle into his right eye"-and his efforts at rendering dialogue are clumsy. The narrative gathers steam as the author follows the resourceful commandos and their attack on the heavily armed Soviet fleet at Kronstadt with a flotilla of plywood boats. It remains for the interested reader to learn the outcome of the attack. Suffice it to say that things did not go exactly as planned, but there were plenty of fireworks and cliffhangers-even though the Soviet regime survived both the attack and the civil war. A somewhat useful documentation, but a shorter, tighter tale would have been welcome. Agent: Julian Alexander/Lucas Alexander Whitley

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590202296
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
07/09/2009
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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