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Farewell Paperback – 30 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (30 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611090261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611090260
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sergei Kostin is a Russian documentary maker and writer living in Moscow. He is author of four nonfiction books, mainly about secret services, translated into eight languages, including The Man Behind the Rosenbergs and of four spy novels published in Russia, the USA (Paris Weekend), Bulgaria, and Serbia. First published in France in 1997 under the title Bonjour Farewell, Farewell was the fruit of two years of painstaking investigation in Moscow and Paris interviewing the key players and witnesses to this amazing adventure.

Eric Raynaud is a French film writer who joined up with Sergei Kostin to contribute to Farewell after the release of the film L’Affaire Farewell, starring Willem Dafoe.

Catherine Cauvin-Higgins is a French-Russian-English translator. She was Thomson-CSF interpreter during the Vetrov years, working directly with Jacques Prévost, Vetrov's initial French contact, and Xavier Ameil, his first handler. She participated in trade negotiations with Vetrov's peers, in Paris and in Moscow, during those years.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A very interesting book but detailed to such a level that it was slow going. It's also a translated book that occasionally suffers from weak or literal translation that hinders flow. However, the detailed approach demonstrates the level of research that has gone into this book and ultimately results in a comprehensive account of the activities of Vladimir Vetrov. I'd never heard of Vetrov before and yet his actions had a major impact on the end of the Cold War. A very interesting and informative read but does require perseverance.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Alexa VINE VOICE on 6 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is journalism of the highest quality. A Russian and a Frenchman combine forces to research the background, activities and motivation of Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov - an apparently obscure KGB agent who single-mindedly set out to destroy that organisation.

Vetrov chose to collaborate not with the 'big players' on the international stage, but with the French, and, moreover, with their counter-intelligence branch, rather than the SDECE. He revealed, and sabotaged, the industrial espionage that was enabling the Soviet Union to maintain parity with the West; thus it is claimed that single-handedly he brought about the end of the Cold War! This is not glamorous stuff, and before reading this book I had never heard of Vetrov, but when you take into account the impact of this one man's actions around the world, it is a story that deserves to be told!

Although Vetrov was handsome and with both high intellectual capacities and physical prowess, this is no story of a James Bond-style super-spy. Ultimately the tale is as much about his flaws as his virtues. And this is where the quality of the journalism shows.

Although the international collaboration means that the authors are well-placed to maximise their access to information, ultimately, in any account of the murky world of espionage, whilst some facts will be verifiable, many have to rely on a single, possibly unreliable source, whilst yet others can only by hypothesised, by analogy with other cases.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pompom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An important and compelling piece of Cold War history detailing Valdimar Vetrov's spying for the French Intelligence Service, the DST. The subject matter is fascinating and dramatic, but whilst the authors have applied diligent and objective research in tracing Vetrov's journey from committed KGB officer to double agent, the impact of the story is undermined by the sheer volume of detail. This is clearly a labour of love by Sergei Kostin and you can see that he has methodically and deliberately worked through the back-story to provide what is going to be unarguably the definitive account.
The work could have benefitted from more judicious editing - both in terms of translation and content. A much shorter and concise read would have ensured that this book was more accessible to a general readership - the story is a rich and deserving one and would have benefitted from it. As it is, it is too dense and the translation is too stilted for a casual reader and will only appeal to those with a specific interest in this area of history and on international espionage which is a shame given Vetrov's complex and dramatic personal story which is very much defined by the Cold War.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By T. Burkard VINE VOICE on 10 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The title of this book is slightly misleading--anyone expecting a lightweight spy thriller to take to the beach will be disappointed. Rather, this is the real deal: Kostin and Raynaud spent years interviewing the key players in the Farewell saga, but we can never be sure exactly what happened. This is the real world, not a novel.

Vladimir Vetrov, the KGB agent who gave the West the documents that turned the tide of the cold war, was first posted to Paris and Canada, where he led a flamboyant life and was compromised by French and Canadian intelligence. He got away with this, but his career almost came to an end when his wife was caught out in a seemingly minor slip involving an expensive piece of jewelry. This would not have been a problem if Vetrov had connnections--as it was, it was touch and go as to whether he would keep his job.

Burning with resentment against a system he considered inept, he was relegated to desk work in Moscow. There he had access to the KGB's most sensitive files. Oddly, the picture that emerges is that the KGB was pretty much like all Soviet bureaucracies: sloth, incompetence and chaos reigned. Vetrov was able to take top secret documents home with very little risk, because the sheer numbers of KGB employees made it impractical to check everyone's briefcases when they went home.

Amazingly, he was able to copy and transmit them to the DST, the French counter-intelligence agency. The French had no spies working in the Soviet Union, so all of these papers had to be transmitted through amateur volunteers working for Thomson, the French telecoms company that had big contracts in Russia.
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