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4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 4 January 2007
This is the most comprehensive book on the structure and history of KGB.

The text is very logical and easy to read. The book is written partly by Oleg Gordievsky - a man who spent around thirty years within KGB.

It starts from Tsar Okhrana (1500) and leads you up to 1990s. It covers all Russian and USSR secret services. The book gives details of almost all famous assassinations carried out by KGB and it's predecessors. Good coverage of life of the most known spies including Sydney Reilly. It deeply analyses lives of the Oxford "Magnificent Five". It gives good analysis on the "active measures", "wet affairs", agent penetration and other actions carried out by KGB.

I recommend it to everyone interested in KGB.
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on 13 July 2002
This was the first major book I read on the history of the KGB, and it has proved over the years to be the best. Not only does it give an insite into the "known" history of the Service, but also gives the history and political intrigue. The most interesting part of the book is the private lives of some of the most powerful men in Russia during those years. That more than anything else was the most frightening and interesting part of all. Overall an excellent and informative read.
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on 27 June 2009
KGB The Inside Story is very exciting reading by Christopher Andrew, highly regarded Cambridge professor ,who writes a series of books brilliantly on intelligence subjects involving many different countries and agencies. It is co-authored by a former top Russian agent to add to the fascination.
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on 10 June 2009
Written in co-operation with Oleg Gordievsky this books tell the grim story of the birth and development of the KGB. No punches are pulled by the writers the story line very much parallels Soviet political history. With tales of countless executions, show trials, assasinations and infiltration into the Western sercret services the KGB is painted as all powerful. I would have liked to have read more about their success outside violence, I'm sure they happened (of course the Cambridge spies fall into this catagorie - were they the only ones ?). The book is well written and easy to read, crammed full of facts and figues, dates and names, highly recommended.
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on 1 November 2013
Just what I wanted, would use and would recommend to others. Basically what is says on the tin. thank you!
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on 23 September 2015
Book arrived as described. A+ seller
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on 9 September 2010
A hefty tome which looked the part however once I began turning the pages I found myself quickly turned off a) by the turgid writing and b) sneering tone adopted by the authors throughout. Andrew's appears to have been out to settle a few scores in this book and his jeering smug attitude I found to be most unacademic. The KGB is clearly a fairly grisly topic but his hatred and contempt contaminates every page. Andrew's takes great care to slag off Lenin and co. in the most unflattering light possible and I was left with the very strong perception this contempt was directed at the politics behind the KGB rather than the hordes of murders and killings carried out by the KGB.

This book is destined for the next car boot sale methinks.
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on 15 May 2016
I love this book. An eye opener.
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on 4 September 2015
An interestng read so far.
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