Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
An interesting read
on 1 July 2010
I've been looking for a book on the history of the KGB for some time and after reading the reviews for this on Amazon I thought I would give it a try, I'm pleased I did as I found the book quite interesting.
The author takes the reader through the history of "secret police" in Tsarist Russia, looking at the work of the Oprichnina and the Okhrana, and then the history under the Soviets right through to the Gorbachev era circa 1985. The narration flows well for the most part, although it can become a little turgid in places, and the book is very informative, with little insights from Gordievsky (a KGB defector who was a mole for SIS) on particular topics.
The one thing that constantly struck me as a I read this book was how much more effective the KGB and the other divisions would have been if they had concentrated solely on factual threats instead of delving into the myriad of non-existent conspiracy theories. I would also have liked the author to expand further on the murder of Georgi Markov and the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg but felt that his coverage of the traitors from Cambridge - the Magnificent Five - was very good, and in fact the most informative account that I have ever read of their traitorous activites.
I would recommend this book, as I did enjoy reading it and feel I have learnt quite a lot from the experience. I would counsel fellow readers that this book can be heavy going in places but would urge perserverance as the book is definitely worth it.