Drawing upon previously secret KGB records released exclusively to Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood reveals for the first time the riveting story of Soviet espionage's "golden age" in the United States, from the 1930s through the early cold war.
The Haunted Wood fills in a valuable part of cold war history: the Soviet Union's attempts to spy on the United States from the time of FDR's New Deal, through the Second World War, and into the 1950s. Allen Weinstein (author of a highly regarded history of the Hiss-Chambers case, Perjury) and Alexander Vassiliev (a KGB agent turned journalist) show that among the Americans caught in the Soviet orbit were many top government officials, including a Congressman from New York and a close advisor to President Roosevelt, as well as an American ambassador's daughter. Most of these early spies were leftists driven by ideology--as opposed to money, which seems to have motivated many of the later cold war traitors, such as Aldrich Ames. (The Congressman, interestingly, is an exception--he demanded so much compensation that the Soviets gave him the code name "Crook.") The greatest windfall for the U.S.S.R. during this period was the acquisition of atomic secrets, with contributions from agents like Ted Hall, Klaus Fuchs, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (the authors do not believe, however, that the scientist Robert Oppenheimer was a Soviet spook). Yet there were also notable failures, many brought on by Stalin's insatiable appetite for purges; defections by Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley also dealt several mortal blows. By the end of the 1940s, the Soviet spy ring in the United States was in serious breakdown. Weinstein and Vassiliev make use of both American sources and Soviet archives to deliver what will surely be an authoritative account for many years--or at least until more top-secret archives on both sides of the Atlantic become declassified. And don't expect that to happen anytime soon. --John J. MillerFrom the Publisher:
"An important contribution to the history of the Cold War"
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Weinstein and Vassiliev] have very effectively raided the KGB archives to gather the fullest account to date of Soviet espionage in the U.S. up to the '50s .... The most able, careful and comprehensive account we are likely to have for a long time."
"Better than any Le Carré novel are the true events recounted in this fascinating new book .... a relentlessly powerful book and an eye opener for all readers."
"[The Haunted Wood] will transfix intelligence buffs and be closely read by professionals. The authors have skillfully synthesized the material into a narrative of what the Soviets did and didn't achieve in penetrating the U.S. government .... A disturbing but fascinating revelation."
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