The Best Books On Soviet Espionage

Harvey Klehr Author Of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America
By Harvey Klehr

The Books I Picked & Why

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

By Sam Tanenhaus

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

Why this book?

The Alger Hiss case riveted America in the late 1940s and early 1950s. His trial and conviction convince many Americans that Communist espionage had been a serious problem and the case made Richard Nixon a national figure. His chief accuser, Whittaker Chambers, was a fascinating, tormented, talented man and writer. Tanenhaus’s biography portrays him with all his virtues, warts, and contradictions.


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A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

By Ben Macintyre

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Why this book?

No British spy did more damage to the West than Kim Philby, a high-ranking MI6 official who spied for the USSR from the 1930s until his defection in 1963.  Macintyre captures his many betrayals- of his family, friends, and country, demonstrates how he was able to deceive so many people for so many years, and evaluates the damage he did and the lives he ruined.


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The Rosenberg File

By Ronald Radosh, Joyce Milton

The Rosenberg File

Why this book?

For decades the myth that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed for atomic espionage in 1953 and the only American civilians given the death penalty for espionage, were innocent was a staple on the American left. Radosh and Milton, employing declassified government documents and digging up new evidence, conclusively demonstrated their guilt.


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Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley

By Steven T. Usdin

Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley

Why this book?

In addition to facilitating atomic espionage, Julius Rosenberg supervised several engineers who stole vital technical secrets dealing with radar, sonar, and aviation.  Usdin tells the fascinating story of two of them, Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, who defected to the Soviet Union after the Rosenbergs were arrested and helped build the Soviet Silicon Valley.


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Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy

By Joseph Albright, Marcia Kunstel

Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy

Why this book?

The story of the youngest physicist at Los Alamos, Ted Hall, who volunteered to spy for the KGB and provided vital atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Although Hall’s treachery was discovered by American counter-intelligence, he was never prosecuted to avoid alerting the Soviets that the United States had decrypted their top-secret WWII cables. Albright and Kunstel tell the story of an idealistic, naïve and arrogant spy.


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