The Sword And The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The Kgb

The Sword And The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The Kgb

by Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin
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Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who is seriously interested in how to conduct government is the most responsible way should read this book. In addition, those who love spy stories, histories, and novels will be rewarded with many new details and perspectives on Soviet and Russian foreign intelligence activities since the Russian Revolution at the beginning of the 20th century. This book surprised me in several ways. First, I did not expect to learn that the KGB did not have a lot of important successes that were not already known publicly. Second, the KGB's effectiveness was more related to Western mistakes than to KGB brilliance. Third, the Soviet perceptions of the United States and Britain seem to have come from Fantasyland. The Soviet state made very poor use of terrific foreign intelligence because its leaders were such poor thinkers and the system did not encourage free discussion. Fourth, helping the dissidents inside the Soviet Union could have helped undo Communism much sooner. What makes this book unique is the combination of having had access to almost all of the foreign intelligence archives of the KGB for 12 years and having those archives interpreted by someone in the KGB who was interested in the need to reform Soviet socialism. By having Christpher Andrew join Vasili Mitrokhin in authoring this book, you do get a Western overlay but the fundamental Russian perspective is still there. I found the 'big picture' aspects of the book far more rewarding than the specific examples. The rise of fascism clearly was Moscow's greatest resource in getting information from the West. The most effective spies (like Kim Philby and the other Magnficent Five in Britain) were as much motivated by anti-fascism as they were by helping the U.S.S.R. Although some are always willing to sell out for money or sex, idealism is the most dangerous motivation for traitors. Interestingly, leaks from the United States about the atomic and hydrogen bombs related again to idealism -- concern about avoiding a world in which those bombs might be used. How might future offensive and defensive technology breakthroughs create similar actions? It's a chilling thought. At the same time, the failure of the Soviet system eventually limited its ability to gain new traitors. The human rights abuses of the Soviets made Communism seem as dangerous to many idealists as fascism had earlier. Stalin doomed the Soviet system as much as its structural flaws did. On the other hand, Lenin was just as committed to controlling through secret police and intelligence gathering as Stalin was. Clearly, the Communist hand at the tiller in Moscow would have slipped much sooner if severe repression and fear had not been used. I also wondered how many of the problems that Western democracies had with the KGB could have been eliminated by having focused on proper security earlier. The shocking lapses of the British foreign service prior to World War II and in the Roosevelt administration clearly allowed a disproportionate share of the Soviet gains through foreign intelligence. It would also be very interesting to read about how Western democracies could have countered these foreign intelligence operation
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really looked forward to getting my hands on this book, and am glad I did as it was educational. However, the book was billed as much more than it turned out to be. Not everything was that surprising or new, and the structure of the book left much to be desired. I guess I expected to read something very new and shocking, but in many parts I was just bored. It gets three stars because the original material that was there, not the presentation. The rest seemed a summary
Anonymous 3 months ago
The incredible penetration of the Soviet spies in the US was mainly due to two factors: 1) the naivete of those in our government about the evil nature of communism, and 2) the penetration of communism in our government, our universities, and yes our media. Ailments thst still are present today. Yes, the former URSS was disbanded in the 90s but it a very grave mistake that communism is not a present danger, if you look closely you will see it present in the media, the professors in our universities, and certainly in a great number of the Democrats.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is very intelligent and gives you knowledge of the KGB you wouldn't find anywhere else
Guest More than 1 year ago
Learning about some little tricks about an anacronic secret service in the Cold War 20 or 30 years ago doesn't help much to understand the contemporary world and the future. Forget about KGB Russia and the World should look forward ... not into the ugly