The Haunted Wood by Alexander Vassiliev
Soviet Espionage in America - The Stalin Era

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Synopsis

Based upon previously secret KGB records, The Haunted Wood reveals for the first time the riveting story of Soviet espionage's "golden age" in the United States throughout the 1930s, World War II, and the early Cold War. Historian Allen Weinstein, author of Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, and Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB agent-turned-journalist, were provided unique access to thousands of classified Soviet intelligence dispatches that documented the KGB's success in acquiring America's most valuable atomic, military, and diplomatic secrets. The Haunted Wood narrates the triumphs and failures of Soviet operatives and their American agents during the 1930s and 1940s, describing as well the compelling human dramas involved.
        
Reconstructed from Moscow's messages to its operatives and reports from Soviet recruits in America, The Haunted Wood describes many previously unknown personal tales: struggles for control among contending Soviet operatives and American agents, love affairs, business ventures, defections, and plotted or actual murders. The authors also detail the remarkable range of classified government documents and information stolen for Soviet intelligence during the 1930s and the war years.
        
Complementing its use of the KGB archives, The Haunted Wood incorporates, also for the first time, a number of the previously classified VENONA cables released in 1995-96 by the CIA and NSA. Among these thousands of translated intercepts sent by Soviet agents in the United States to the USSR during World War II were dozens that matched those found in the Moscow records.
        
The highly placed Americans who assisted Soviet intelligence operatives during this period included:

  the passionate daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany
  an influential member of the U.S. Congress
  one of President Roosevelt's personal assistants
  key officials of the OSS, America's wartime spy agency
  a flamboyant Hollywood producer-director
  the head of the American Communist Party

Several chapters provide major new accounts from Moscow's own record of its relations with Alger Hiss and atomic spies Klaus Fuchs, Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Theodore Hall, and Julius Rosenberg, among others, along with fresh information on Soviet espionage in the United States by British agents for the Kremlin--Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, and Harold "Kim" Philby.

The Haunted Wood's pages are filled with extraordinary and previously untold stories, including those of one war-time American spy ring whose head lived in a domestic ménage à trois with other agents, of Soviet involvement in a Hollywood music publishing company and possible major film investments, and of a station chief who proposed (with Moscow's agreement) funding U.S. journalists and congressional political campaigns.
        
The authors show how defection at war's end by a single emotionally depressed agent, despondent since the death of her Soviet station-chief lover, provoked the swift and virtually complete shutdown of Moscow's intelligence operations in the United States--ironically, years before the FBI and congressional investigations began their decade-long pursuit of "Soviet agents," who, by then, had either returned to Moscow or left the U.S. government!
        
With its new and uniquely documented information, The Haunted Wood offers the first fresh, realistic, and non-judgmental understanding of Soviet espionage in the United States during the Stalin era.
 

About Alexander Vassiliev

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Allen Weinstein  is founder and president of The Center for Democracy. His books include Freedom and Crisis: An American History, and Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case. He lives in Washington, D.C.Alexander Vassiliev is a Russian journalist. He is a former KGB agent and lives in Western Europe.
 
Published December 22, 1998 by Random House. 402 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Weinstein, the author of the definitive book on the Hiss-Chambers case (Perjury, 1978), and Vassiliev, a former KGB officer turned journalist, have very effectively raided the KGB archives to gather the fullest account to date of Soviet espionage in the US up to the ’50s.

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Publishers Weekly

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Like Yale University Press's The Secret World of American Communism and The Soviet World of American Communism, by Harvey Klehr et al., this account of the golden age of Soviet spying, 1933-1945,

Nov 30 1998 | Read Full Review of The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espi...

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