Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America [NOOK Book]

Overview

Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona ...
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Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

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Overview

Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona messages—documents of unparalleled importance for our understanding of the history and politics of the Stalin era and the early Cold War years.

Hidden away in a former girls’ school in the late 1940s, Venona Project cryptanalysts, linguists, and mathematicians attempted to decode more than twenty-five thousand intercepted Soviet intelligence telegrams. When they cracked the unbreakable Soviet code, a breakthrough leading eventually to the decryption of nearly three thousand of the messages, analysts uncovered information of powerful significance: the first indication of Julius Rosenberg’s espionage efforts; references to the espionage activities of Alger Hiss; startling proof of Soviet infiltration of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb; evidence that spies had reached the highest levels of the U.S. State and Treasury Departments; indications that more than three hundred Americans had assisted in the Soviet theft of American industrial, scientific, military, and diplomatic secrets; and confirmation that the Communist party of the United States was consciously and willingly involved in Soviet espionage against America. Drawing not only on the Venona papers but also on newly opened Russian and U. S. archives, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr provide in this book the clearest, most rigorously documented analysis ever written on Soviet espionage and the Americans who abetted it in the early Cold War years.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300129878
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 623,610
  • File size: 4 MB

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    Best Book on Soviet Espionage 1930's-50's

    Of the recent books on Soviet spying in the Stalin Era, this book is the best. It reminds me of the book The Puzzle Palace, which was probably the first that gave pertinent information about the NSA. This book goes through the Venona telegrams that were kept a secret by our goverment until the mid 1990's. Of course, we were not able to decode every one of the telegrams. There are people still alive that are probably sweating out that information today. This book has taken away some skepticism on trials of spies , especially the Rosenbergs, now that this information straight from KGB files show that they were spies for the Soviet Union. I did feel like the information released probably showed that Ethel Rosenberg probably wasn't as involved as her husband and probably shouldn't have been executed. Also, the book showed that a lot of the spies were not prosecuted so that we could keep the secret that we had broken their code in some of their telegrams. This book is the one to read concerning who and what was involved.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Very Interesting Subject, Workman-like writing, well researched

    This book is fascinating in concept, and a good read for those who had thought that the whole McCarthy Commie scare in the 50's with the Hollywood blacklist, and State Department purges was all the product of stupid scared drunks who saw Reds under every bed. Let's start with this one: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg - persecuted innocents or Soviet Spies? Answer - not just a little guilty -very guilty. The US government cracked Soviet codes (The Venona project the book is about) and discovered a whole lot of spyin' goin' on, but couldn't disclose how they had found this out as they couldn't compromise the program.

    Unfortunately, while the facts presented are fascinating and scary (There WERE Commies under a lot of beds), the book seems to devolve into lists of names and accounts of minor players. It gets to be wearying reading after 100 pages or so.

    Still, it's worthwhile as it explains both a lot of otherwise mysterious U.S. Government actions, reveals that a good dose of paranoia was actually a wise thing, and reminds the reader that there is still (no doubt) an active attack -seriously folks- on the democratic governments of the West. If you're sneering at that last sentence... you should absolutely read this book. You might be surprised.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Venona confirms the history of Soviet espionage

    As a student of 'contemporay American history,' I found the book both interesting and informative reading. The basic premise is that during World War II, our government was reading Soviet diplomatic cables which contained much information documenting Russian spy agents, operations, etc. What is interesting to note is that the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy is vindicated by this book. Even though he was a demogue, the accusations that he made were, in fact, truthful. The next item in line with this is how did McCarthy gain his information and why was he ostracised as he was if all of this was true? Indeed, the NSA claims that they couldn't reveal what they had learned because of 'national security.' Read this book and you will change mind about American history. You will begin to see our govenment at work behind the scenes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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