Stalin's Romeo Spy: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative

Stalin's Romeo Spy: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative

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Overview

Stalin's Romeo Spy: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative by Emil Draitser

Sailor, painter, doctor, lawyer, polyglot, and writer, Dmitri Bystrolyotov

(1901–75) led a life that might seem far-fetched for a spy novel, yet here

the truth is stranger than fiction. The result of a thirty-five-year journey

that started with a private meeting between the author and Bystrolyotov

in 1973 Moscow and continued through the author’s subsequent

research in international archives, Stalin’s Romeo Spy: The Remarkable

Rise and Fall of the KGB’s Most Daring Operative pieces together a life lived

in the shadows of the twentieth century’s biggest events.

One of the “Great Illegals,” a team of outstanding Soviet spies operating

in Western countries between the world wars, Bystrolyotov was

the response to Sidney Reilly, the British prototype for James Bond.

A dashing man, his modus operandi was the seduction of women—

among them a French embassy employee, a German countess, the wife

of a British official, and a Gestapo officer—which enabled Stalin to look

into diplomatic pouches of many European countries. Risking his life,

Bystrolyotov also stole military secrets from Nazi Germany and Fascist

Italy. A man of extraordinary physical courage, he twice crossed the

Sahara Desert and the jungles of Congo.

But his success as a spy didn’t save him from Stalin’s purges, at the

height of which he was arrested and tortured until he falsely confessed

to selling out to the enemy. Sentenced to twenty years of hard labor in

the Gulag, Bystrolyotov risked more severe punishment by documenting

the regime’s crimes against humanity in unpublished and suppressed

memoirs that rival those of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

The first full-length biography in any language, at once a real-life

spy thriller, a drama of desire, and a prison memoir, Stalin’s Romeo Spy

is the true account of a flawed yet extraordinary man.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810126640
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 03/19/2010
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Originally a journalist in the Soviet Union, Emil Draitser was blacklisted for a satirical

article and, in 1974, immigrated to the United States, where he is now a professor of

Russian at Hunter College in New York City. His most recent book is Shush! Growing

Up Jewish Under Stalin: A Memoir.

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