By Benjamin Weiser
In August 1972, Ryszard Kuklinski, a hugely revered colonel within the Polish military, launched into what could turn into probably the most striking human intelligence operations of the chilly struggle. regardless of the extraordinary threat to himself and his relations, he contacted the yank Embassy in Bonn, and organized a mystery assembly. From the very begin, he made transparent that he deplored the Soviet domination of Poland, and believed his kingdom used to be at the incorrect facet of the chilly War.
Over the following 9 years, Kuklinski rose fast within the Polish safety ministry, performing as a liaison to Moscow, and assisting to arrange for a "hot war" with the West. yet he additionally lived a lifetime of subterfuge--of useless drops, messages written in invisible ink, miniature cameras, and mystery transmitters. In 1981, he gave the CIA the key plans to overwhelm unity. Then, approximately to be came across, he made a deadly get away together with his relatives to the West. He nonetheless lives in hiding in America.
Kuklinski's tale is a harrowing own drama approximately one man's determination to betray the Communist management so one can retailer the rustic he loves, and the serious debate it spurred over no matter if he was once a traitor or a patriot. via vast interviews and entry to the CIA's mystery archive at the case, Benjamin Weiser bargains an extraordinary and richly certain examine this mystery historical past of the chilly War.
From Publishers Weekly
Highly positioned within the army councils of the Warsaw Pact, Polish colonel Ryszard Kuklinski made himself the CIA's most crucial East Bloc intelligence asset within the Nineteen Seventies, passing alongside worthy information regarding Soviet weaponry, army plans and the brewing crackdown on Poland's dissident team spirit move. during this soaking up biography of an emblematic chilly conflict determine, journalist Weiser paints Kuklinski as a Polish patriot, his pro-American sentiments encouraged by means of love of freedom, resentment of Soviet domination, and worry superpower disagreement might unharness a nuclear holocaust on Poland. now and then Weiser is going overboard in constructing the purpose, reprinting at inordinate size Kuklinski's high-minded letters to his CIA handlers and their both gushing tributes to his idealism and energy of personality (the query of the way a lot funds the CIA paid Kuklinski is a little coyly skirted). yet he provides an excellent account of the day-by-day regimen of espionage, filled with the idea and perform of counter-surveillance, lifeless drops, surreptitious hand-offs, suicide tablets, invisible ink and (often balky) miniature transmitters, and moments of panic while Kuklinski narrowly escapes detection. Weiser additionally bargains an surprisingly intimate portrait of the interior lifetime of a secret agent and the serious emotional bond among brokers and their handlers (after his case officer used to be transferred, the CIA persevered to forge letters to Kuklinski over his signature to prevent provoking their prize asset). either a gripping spycraft procedural and a examine of the ethical pressure of at the same time taking part with and undermining a process one detests, the booklet sheds mild on a shadowy yet evocative element of lifestyles below Communism.
Copyright © Reed company details, a department of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This textual content refers to an out of print or unavailable version of this title.
From the recent Yorker
Books approximately espionage, fiction or now not, could be cliché flypaper—encrusted with drained plot twists and morbid surroundings. Exceptions, like John le Carré's novels and Thomas Powers's histories, are infrequent. yet Weiser's story of the way a high-ranking Polish officer, Ryszard Kuklinski, betrayed the communist management for nearly a decade, beginning in 1972, and fed the american citizens millions of pages of top-secret records, together with the plans for martial legislations, is in that increased corporation. "A mystery Life" is exciting not just in its chronicle of an honorable betrayal in the course of the chilly War's endgame but additionally in its portrait of the unusually loving epistolary courting among the undercover agent and his American handlers. There are scenes the following which are as demanding as any in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," and the entry that Weiser gained—his assets comprise either Kuklinski and the Poles he fooled—is a feat of sufferer and clever reporting.
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Extra info for A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, And The Price He Paid To Save His Country
O PP O SITE ) Fig. 20. (ABOVE) Attached to this postcard is a small piece of seaweed scavenged from the beach at Worthing. This coin arrived at Bray's home on Devonshire Road the day after he posted it. Unfortunately, it F i g . 2 1 . Bray made this postcard from two pieces of a starched shirt collar sewn together. He sent it to Ernest Arnold with 39 appears that he forgot to stick a stamp on the label, so the Post Office charged him 2d. for the unpaid postage. a message on the back referring to his broken arm.
T O P ) The crew featured in the photograph had nothing to do with the Great Lewes Fire, according to this letter sent back to Bray with the Lewes Fire Brigade postcard. F i g . 4 7 . ( O PP O SITE , B O TT O M ) This picture postcard shows the Great Lewes Fire in 1905. 62 challenging items 63 challenging items F i g . 4 8 . Bray addressed this plain postcard to his cousin, G. Forster. ” 64 challenging items his cousin, a dentist named G. Forster. » [F i g . 4 8 ] The following year Bray affixed a railway ticket to the front of a card, asking the Post Office to deliver it to the “Postmasters of ” the departure and destination stations, with a message on the back requesting that the first Postmaster forward it to the second.
Who, after all, would want to keep a rabbit’s skull, and I’m sure that he still had need of his bicycle pump and frying pan. » [F i g . 1 7] Bray considered the rabbit’s skull to be his most gruesome curio. He wrote the address along the nasal bone and placed the stamps on the back. A purse was perhaps his most devious puzzle to solve: he wrote the address and placed the stamp inside before closing and posting it. There was no evidence that it was a letter until the collector opened it (possibly looking for a few coins) and noted the contents inside.