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The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West (Penguin Press History) Paperback – 27 Jul 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140284877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140284874
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.7 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

Derived from 30,000 top-secret files of the KGB's Foreign Intelligence Service, The Mitrokhin Archive has sparked controversy in Whitehall and Fleet Street. It has also made Melita Norwood--Britain's grandmother-spy--an overnight media celebrity. This huge book is the result of a collaboration between Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior officer of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service, and Christopher Andrew, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and Chair of the Faculty of History at Cambridge University.

Mitrokhin defected to the UK in 1992, bringing with him notes and classified files he had smuggled out of the Soviet foreign intelligence archives. The authors reveal that Norwood was more highly valued by the Soviets as a spy than the more famous Kim Philby. She passed on technical information that had enabled the Russians to build their own atomic bomb. As an employee at the British Non- Ferrous Metals Research Association, she passed on top- secret files on the Tube Alloys (atomic bomb) project. But Norwood was not alone in being approached to spy for the Soviets--others were MPs Tom Driberg and Raymond Fletcher. The book also records a misguided attempt at recruiting Sir Harold Wilson.

The soviets may have been masters at collecting intelligence, but The Mitrokhin Archive shows their inability to interpret the information they received. It's an exhaustive but riveting read--and there's a promise of a second volume. --Susan Sheph --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and Chair of the Faculty of History at Cambridge University. His authorised history of MI5 will be published by Penguin in 2009. Vasili Mitrokhin was a former senior officer of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence service whose career spanned the period between 1948 and 1984. He defected to the United Kingdom in 1992 and died in 2004.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this superb book, Vasili Mitrokhin and Christopher Andrew have written the definitive account of the Cold War. With the help of the KGB files exfiltrated by Mitrokihn, the authors show how the Soviet regime's paranoia over Western influences drove it to extaordinary lengths to safeguard its empire.
Although the revelations about Melita Norwood have made all the headlines, there is much else here to commend this book to the reader of modern history. My favourite piece concerned the influence of Pope John Paul II on the downfall of the Polish communist regime, although you could take your pick from the October Revolution, the Great Terror, or the demise of the Soviet Union in the late eighties; this book spans the entire seven decades of the Soviet behemoth.
Although this book is a heavy read (it is over seven hundred pages long), the patient reader will be rewarded with perspectives on the Cold War that no other book can offer. Thanks to the Mitrokhin archive, we can not only understand why the Soviet regime collapsed, but what preserved it for seventy years.
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Format: Paperback
I thought this book was a most interesting insight into the ways of the KGB. The bravery of Mitrokhin to bring all of these revelations to light must be admired.
Having close relation to someone who lived in the latter part of Soviet times, Mitrokhin's archive even manages to surprise those who were living it day to day.
I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish, but sometimes the level of information given at any one time was too congested, the book jumped from time to time leaving me confused as to which time was being mentioned, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment too much.
My other criticism of this title is that there is an intended second volume from what I can grasp, I feel that as a chronological history of the whole KGB era was presented the introduction of a second volume is largely unnecessary. Maybe a better structure of this volume would have sufficed.
All in all on sheer content I give this book four stars. I really recommend it as criticisms aside, there is a certain "shock value" when you realise that this is fact and not fiction. One of the most interesting, and perhaps worrying, parts deals with the "Centre's" pre-occupations of USA nuclear first strikes both in the 60's and 80's, that was enough to realise that it really is a good job what happened has happened.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to work as a journalist writing on East-West politics during the days of the Cold War.This book is a marvellous reference volume. i had a copy, lent it to someone, cannot not remember who, so I have purchased another from you as a replacement. To anyone interested in espionage, it is highly authoritative and great to dip in and out of.....for example I wanted to know about the death of Trotsky in Mexico as there was a book being read on Radio 4 Book of the week. This book filled in all the background for me
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good for its discussion of the documentary proof for how Russia secretly supplied weapons to the IRA to kill British soldiers in Northern Ireland. This "infiltration tactic" is similar to Hitler's use of Fifth Columnists in Norway prior to his invasion of 1940. Diabolical, but the facts about how Russia "fought" the Cold War by exploiting guillible nationalistic terrorists and simpletons needs to be widely understood and acknowledged today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Together with the second volume, a good overview for anyone interested in the subject, even if you are of the opinion that the Mitrokhin archive is the biggest red herring ever swallowed by western intelligence agencies. These books are certainly not a critical study of the Archive, Christopher Andrew taking Mitrokhin at face value.
The Archive is either a very complete account of Soviet foreign intelligence operations which shows the KGB to have been rather ineffectual after the already known successes of the 40's and 50's, or a very effective disinformation operation which protected long range KGB operations in the turbulent years when the Soviet Union collapsed and the KGB had to change its coat. Enjoy with a healthy dose of skepticism.
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Format: Paperback
This perhaps is one of the most detailed and comprehensive books ever written on the activities of the KGB around the world during the Cold War. It requires some knowledge of modern history and an interest in the world of government intelligence services. The fact that it is based on the information collected over many years by the KGB's veteran archivist from the KGB archives gives it extra authority. However, the book's blatant bias in favour of British MI6 prevents it from being top grade material. While it is undoubtful that Western liberal democracy is by far morally superior and legitimate form of government than socialist authoritarianism, it is important to remember that espionage is a very dirty business irrespective of the government it is conducted by. 'The Mirtokhin Archive' fails to acknowledge that ultimately the KGB was more successful than MI6 had ever been. The KGB's enormous successes in infiltrating the highest levels of MI6 are discredited by a combination of ideological arguments and apparent absurdity of Soviet decision-making in foreign affairs, while the most minor successes of British MI6 are made into major victories over the KGB. This is exactly what the British government wants the public to believe. 'The Mitrokhin Archive' is ultimately great material (of Vasili Mitrokhin) spoiled by MI6's self-praising political spin (by Christopher Andrew).
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