10 books like Spymaster

By Oleg Kalugin,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Spymaster. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

This is a book principally about Kim Philby, the once head of Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union who was exposed as a double agent. There's a lot about this master spy’s activities in the Lebanese capital in the lead-up to his defection to Moscow from there in January of 1963. In 1960 Philby made a tour of the Middle East to write some articles, including stopping in Kuwait which inspired some of the action in my own book. I love any work by Ben Macintyre but this book appealed to me especially. It’s got some great photos in it and, trite as it sounds, I couldn’t put it down.

A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Spy Among Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and…


Darkness at Noon

By Arthur Koestler,

Book cover of Darkness at Noon

I read Darkness at Noon in my junior year of high school and got in a bit of trouble when our teacher wanted us to talk about the significance of the book and instead I went off on an essay based on the last two sentences of the book. Those sentences have stayed with me all my life and eventually inspired the last words of what I think is my best book. Unpublished. And not science fiction.

Darkness at Noon

By Arthur Koestler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Darkness at Noon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The newly discovered lost text of Arthur Koestler’s modern masterpiece, Darkness at Noon—the haunting portrait of a revolutionary, imprisoned and tortured under totalitarian rule—is now restored and in a completely new translation.

Editor Michael Scammell and translator Philip Boehm bring us a brilliant novel, a remarkable discovery, and a new translation of an international classic.

In print continually since 1940, Darkness at Noon has been translated into over 30 languages and is both a stirring novel and a classic anti-fascist text. What makes its popularity and tenacity even more remarkable is that all existing versions of Darkness at Noon are…


Perjury

By Allen Weinstein,

Book cover of Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case

For a generation of liberals and progressives, it was an article of faith that Alger Hiss, a Harvard-educated New Dealer who accompanied Franklin Roosevelt to Yalta, was railroaded by the McCarthyite tactics of the anti-Communist right when was accused – and convicted—about his past as a Communist spy. But Weinstein, who started out his book as a Hiss sympathizer, conducted a thoroughgoing re-evaluation of one of the Cold War’s most celebrated trials and concluded, on the basis of a mountain of evidence, that Hiss was in fact guilty as charged. I devoured this book when it first came out because it stands as a case study of the need to confront hard facts even when they are politically inconvenient. 

Perjury

By Allen Weinstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perjury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although almost a half-century has passed since the jury at Alger Hiss's second trial pronounced him guilty of perjury, the case remains controversial and the verdict leaves questions unanswered. The case has continued to make headlines and attract considerable media attention in the years since Perjury was first published in 1978, and this new edition of the book incorporates evidence available only in the past two decades, bringing the essential public story of the episode up to the present. The author has sought and gained access to many previously undiscovered, unavailable, or ignored sources of documentary and oral evidence, both…


The Great Terror

By Robert Conquest,

Book cover of The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties

No book exposed the horrors of Josef Stalin’s purges more graphically and with greater power than Robert Conquest’s epic, The Great Terror. The book chronicled how a paranoid Stalin, convinced his power was threatened by his rival Leon Trotsky and his allies, unleashed a wave of terror by his country’s NKVD—a forerunner of the KGB--  that decimated the Soviet leadership and its military with millions of Russians executed or marched to Siberian prison camps. While Stalin’s henchmen staged mock “trials” in Moscow, marked by phony confessions, extracted by torture, liberal apologists in the West sought to justify Stalin’s lunatic crackdown. I read this book in college and it has stayed with me for years-- providing an eye-opening lesson in the willingness of those of all political stripes to turn a blind eye to the evils of totalitarianism.

The Great Terror

By Robert Conquest,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Conquest's The Great Terror is the book that revealed the horrors of Stalin's regime to the West. This definitive fiftieth anniversary edition features a new foreword by Anne Applebaum.

One of the most important books ever written about the Soviet Union, The Great Terror revealed to the West for the first time the true extent and nature Stalin's purges in the 1930s, in which around a million people were tortured and executed or sent to labour camps on political grounds. Its publication caused a widespread reassessment of Communism itself.

This definitive fiftieth anniversary edition gathers together the wealth of…


Deep Undercover

By Jack Barsky, Cindy Coloma,

Book cover of Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America

Before stumbling across this memoir, while doing the research for my next novel, I had no idea that the Cold War saw German Communist spies living in the USA - but come to think of it, why shouldn’t they have existed on the other side of the Iron Curtain? Barsky’s story blew me away: he was sent by the KGB to the States as a sleeper agent. What “broke” him was not his challenging profession, but the love for his child — he eventually had two families, one in East Germany with a wife who knew about his true identity - and another one in the States, with a wife who didn’t.

He had a son with the German and a daughter with his Latin-American wife in the US. He wasn’t there when his son was born, but witnessed the birth of his daughter. When the Cold War ended and…

Deep Undercover

By Jack Barsky, Cindy Coloma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Undercover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One decision can end everything . . . or lead to unlikely redemption.
Millions watched the CBS 60 Minutes special on Jack Barsky in 2015. Now, in this fascinating memoir, the Soviet KGB agent tells his story of gut-wrenching choices, appalling betrayals, his turbulent inner world, and the secret life he lived for years without getting caught.

On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward Customs and Immigration.

Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist.

The identity was a KGB forgery, used to…


Venona

By Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes,

Book cover of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

This book is a true find for history buffs. It is based on the by now declassified thousands of KGB messages that were decoded by the Venona Project. It gives clear evidence of the Soviet espionage efforts by the KGB against the United States even while the two were allies in WWII. It also proves the hitherto only rumored deep penetration of Soviet assets into the United States government. In those decrypted documents there is proof that the much-maligned Senator Joseph McCarthy was more right than wrong, albeit too frenetic and sensationalist in his pursuit of communists in the US government.  

Venona

By Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Venona as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona messages-documents of unparalleled importance for our understanding of the history and politics of the Stalin era and the early…


Operation Whisper

By Barnes Carr,

Book cover of Operation Whisper: The Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen

This is the story of how British MI5 zeroed in on a spy ring led by Gordon Lonsdale (aka Konan Molody) and Helen and Peter Kroger (aka Morris and Lona Cohen who previously had been members of the Rosenberg spy group that stole the atomic secret. I was friends with the Cohens while getting my training in Moscow). The book reads like a thriller/detective story.

Operation Whisper

By Barnes Carr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Operation Whisper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Morris and Lona Cohen, an ordinary-seeming couple living on a teacher's salary in a nondescript building on the East Side of New York City. On a hot afternoon in the autumn of 1950, a trusted colleague knocked at their door, held up a finger for silence, then began scribbling a note: Go now. Leave the lights on, walk out, don't look back. Born and raised in the Bronx and recruited to play football at Mississippi State, Morris Cohen fought for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War and with the U.S. Army in World War II. He and his…


The Spy and the Traitor

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

This is a nonfiction book that reads like a novel. It is a juxtaposition of two spies, Oleg Gordievsky, KGB, and Aldrich Ames, CIA. Gordievsky risks his life by becoming a top source for MI6 (British Intelligence) because of his moral outrage over the crimes committed by the Soviet State. Ames risks more than prison by betraying his country and causing the death of a great number of CIA sources in the Soviet Union. This is a thriller unequalled by the best espionage fiction.

The Spy and the Traitor

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spy and the Traitor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist • Shortlisted for the Bailie Giffords Prize in Nonfiction

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the…


Soviet Espionage

By David J Dallin,

Book cover of Soviet Espionage

Anybody, who wants to study intelligence history and specifically the work of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS), must start with this book which covers several important cases in the 1930s. Remarkably, the author is not an intelligence historian and never worked in the archives. David Dallin’s writings that proved to be correct and accurate in most of the cases, were entirely based on his own analysis, newspaper publications and occasional interviews with Soviet defectors.

Soviet Espionage

By David J Dallin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soviet Espionage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Bridge of Spies

By Giles Whittell,

Book cover of Bridge of Spies

Giles Whittell’s narrative history tells the true story of three colorful Cold War characters, revealing much about the extraordinary tension and paranoia of that febrile time. William Fisher, aka Rudolf Abel, was a British-born KGB agent arrested in New York City and jailed for his attempt to steal America’s nuclear secrets; Gary Powers was the American pilot captured when his plane was shot down while on a reconnaissance mission over Russia; Frederic Pryor was a young American student in Berlin arrested and held without charge by East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi. Whittell skilfully narrates the interwoven stories of these three men, highlighting the political tensions that brought the United States and the Soviet Union so close to nuclear war.

Bridge of Spies

By Giles Whittell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bridge of Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who were the three men the Soviet and American superpowers exchanged on Berlin's Glienicke Bridge on February 10, 1962, in the first and most legendary prisoner exchange between East and West? Bridge of Spies vividly traces the journeys of these men, whose fate defines the complex conflicts that characterized the most dangerous years of the Cold War. Bridge of Spies is a true story of three men - Rudolf Abel, a Soviet Spy who was a master of disguise; Gary Powers, an American who was captured when his spy plane was shot down by the Russians; and Frederic Pryor, a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Soviet Union, espionage, and spies?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, espionage, and spies.

The Soviet Union Explore 251 books about the Soviet Union
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