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.
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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.