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Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; Unabridged CD edition (Feb. 7 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400105528
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400105526
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 13.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,913,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Prichard's voice provides the ideal narration.... [It] never tires and never changes. Both his oldest and newest fans will enjoy this dark journey into Soviet espionage." ---AudioFile

About the Author

Pete Earley, a former reporter for The Washington Post, is the author of eight works of nonfiction, including the bestsellers The Hot House and Family of Spies and the multi-award-winning Circumstantial Evidence.

Michael Prichard is a professional narrator and stage and film actor who has played several thousand characters during his career. An Audie Award winner, he has recorded well over five hundred books and has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Michael was also named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
Sergei and Helen didn't look back when the Aeroflot jet lifted off from Sheremetyevo Airport en route to New York City. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 46 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Spy Who Came in from the Post-Cold War Thaw Feb. 20 2008
By Bruce Trinque - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Peter Earley's "Comrade J" details in commendable detail the career of the Soviet/Russian intelligence officer Sergei Tretyakov, who became the senior Russian operative in New York City in the 1990s. While being a CIA-controlled source. Due to legal restrictions, even the barest details of Tretyakov's defection to (or recruitment by) American Intelligence are absent from the book. Instead, Earley's account concentrates upon Tetrakov's intelligence activities that reached a peak after the end of the Cold War. This is a book that names names and points fingers at persons who, wittingly or not, became resources in the Soviet/Russian battle against American interests. The book is not particularly heavy in the day-to-day detail of how espionage operations are conducted (although there are nonetheless some interesting bits and pieces) but does provide a tolerably comprehensive picture of the scope of Russian Intelligence activities against the US even after the two nations theoretically were no longer enemeies.
40 of 50 people found the following review helpful
superb Jan. 26 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Wall and the Curtain are down as the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union break apart. However, Russia continued its espionage efforts in America even as Yeltsin and the West became allies of a sort. Pete Early (author of true espionages like FAMILY OF SPIES) provides the biography of Russian spy Sergei Tretyakov, code-named Comrade J, who ultimately defected to the West in 2000. In the late 1990s until he defected Tretyakov was assigned to the Russian embassy in New York; from there he led covert operations across the United States, but became disenchanted with Yeltsin and Putin, who he blames for saddling him with inept political cronies (sounds familiar) and a "corrupt political system" that made Communism seem pure. He also had a personal selfish rationale; desiring a better life for his daughter. Tretyakov became an American double agent before finally publicly defecting. The fascination with this memoir is with the more questionable allegations that Tretyakov makes in his numerous interviews with Pete Earley including accusations inside the State Department that probably brings smiles to Nixon and McCarthy; many as far as this reviewer knows have been verified by an independent third party. Well written and entreating with no shockers as Tretyakov's message is that Putin, after looking into the eyes of Bush to see his soul, believes America is no friend of Russia and reacts accordingly.

Harriet Klausner
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A good, true spy yarn April 11 2008
By Lou Novacheck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Just about any average adult in the United States now knows that the only time politicians lie is when their lips are moving. The average adult also knows that a large portion of both private business and government, particularly those who speak to the press, often give, shall we say, misleading, incomplete, or not quite true summaries of whatever it is on the news that particular day. At best, it's their side of the story, told how they want to tell it, and relating how much they're willing to give you. In many cases, they're giving you disinformation. Disinformation is what ordinary people call lies.

All that said, I -- having spent many years working for various U.S. Government intelligence agencies, including NSA, both overseas and in the U.S. -- found Pete Earley's Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War to be very informative and revealing. In some cases, irritating and exasperating. Not with the facts as presented, not with the author, and not with the subject of the book -- Russian spymaster, defector, and double agent Sergei Tretyakov -- but with what the author and Tretyakov, code-named Comrade J, tell us about the sorry state of affairs within our own government.

Now for some specifics. First, an example of sorting out the truth. Early in the book, Tretyakov says, according to the author, "... Russian intelligence targeted President Clinton's deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott, and ran a carefully calculated campaign designed to manipulate him." Talbott, in a written reply, said, "... he knew that Mamedov was relaying all of their conversations ..." back to Russian intelligence.

The following paragraph says, "Just the same, the FBI took the accusations about Talbott seriously ... In 1999, FBI officials asked Secretary (of State) Albright not to share information with Talbott ..." Talbott, as then described, was tagged by the SVR, Russia's new name for the KGB, "... as a `specific unofficial contact' - a specific term that the SVR used to identify its most secret, highly placed intelligence sources." "Specific unofficial contact" also means a person who's passing classified, or inside, or both, information.

See what I mean? Obviously, there's a little more to the story in Untold Secrets, but nothing that would unmuddy the waters.

An example of self-serving words is this, when Earley was introduced by his "FBI contact" to Tretyakov: " `Our only purpose here today is to introduce you. We are not encouraging him to tell his story, nor are we discouraging him (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). He wanted to meet you and we agreed to facilitate it. We will have no part in your talks.' " All this verbiage in diplospeak means is, "He can spill his guts because we think it will serve our purposes."

Think back. When has the FBI or CIA or any of the alphabet soup agencies ever set up a meeting between a defector and a reporter, or writer, before they had their case built? Let me save you some time. The answer is never. If they don't have the defector in their pocket, whether it's with money (the usual way), or with threats (who knows?), or patriotism towards his new country (HA!), he flat does not speak to anybody. Often, the people "protecting" him don't let him see even his own family.

So where's the truth here? I sure as hell don't know. All I can do is guess, just like you.

On the very next page, Tretyakov is quoted. "As a people, you (Americans) are very naïve about Russia and its intentions. You believe because the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia now is your friend. It isn't, and I can show how the SVR is trying to destroy the U.S. even today and even more than the KGB did during the Cold War." That is the Gospel according to Saint Tretyakov, and you can assuredly take it to the bank.

Tretyakov goes on to give up the SVR, the old KGB, family jewels about a number of UN officials who were in Russia's pocket, and some who still are. He names a few Canadians who were regular sources of Comrade J, and who've never been outed. He clears up some anomalies that U.S. intelligence has wondered about, but were never able to pin down. He was a double agent for several years before he defected, turning over thousands of SVR Top Secret cables, the highest classification possible, and hundreds of SVR reports, also Top Secret. He relates how and when a Russian spy inside the UN siphoned off as much as a half-billion dollars meant for starving Iraqi women and children before Saddam's fall, and was given an award for it by Vladimir Putin, because he lined quite a few pockets, including possibly Putin's, in the process.

In addition, Tretyakov tells how the USSR had once intended to rid itself of nuclear and chemical waste by taking them to a remote Arctic island and destroying them by setting off a nuclear bomb. (!!) He tells how some people had given the businessman who was arranging this disposal a nuclear weapon, because they couldn't pay him. And he tells how all of this was endorsed by the Kremlin. I could go on for another couple of paragraphs, but I urge you to read Untold Secrets for yourself. Some of you will say I told you so. Others will be amazed. And some of you may feel bound to do something about it.

Gripes. Earley makes a couple of minor mistakes, for instance incorrectly saying that the KGB and SVR always called their operatives intelligence "officers," while the CIA called theirs intelligence "agents." [CIA operatives are called officers; the people who spy for them are called agents.] He also leaves a few gaps in parts of his narrative which leave the reader guessing as to the outcome. I can excuse the minor mistakes, since Earley was first a reporter, then an author, and not necessarily knowledgeable about intelligence. The holes in the story, however, should have been addressed, either by him or his editor. Many didn't seem to be germane to Tretyakov's story, for the most part, so I can see how they could have been overlooked. But since they were brought up, they should have been seen through, or readers should have been told they're unanswerable, at least for now. Many of them look like they could have been cleared up with as little as an additional sentence or two.

My big gripes, however, are the lack of a glossary and an index. Untold Secrets is a complicated read, especially for those without a background in intelligence. A glossary would have made looking up the uncommonly used and heard terms and acronyms a simple matter, and would have been an even simpler matter to include. The author is good about explaining acronyms and uncommon terms the first time they're used, but after that you're on your own. There's no glossary to look them up in, and there's no index to refer to.

The index in a book of this complexity is absolutely essential. Again, Earley explains who a person is and his connections the first time he introduces that person. Later references, particularly in a book of this length and one that tells us a gripping, but convoluted and complicated story, again leave you on your own. If you don't recall the particulars of the person, place or event that's brought up a second or third time, then you have two choices. Forget it, which could mean a gap in your comprehension, or go through it again, page by page, trying to locate the original reference. The absences of the index and the glossary are major shortcomings. Particularly nowadays, when, in creating the index, you don't have to do much beyond hitting the "Find" key and let the machine do most of the rest of your work for you.

All that said, however, I still highly recommend Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War to anybody's who interested in the future of the country, or an otherwise untold part of the recent past. Or to anybody who's interested in a good spy yarn. A good, true spy yarn, that is. After all, Tretyakov is still, by far, the most important spy ever to come over. The last chapter pretty much summarizes his importance.

One last thing. Remember when I scoffed about a spy defecting because of patriotism towards his new country (HA!)? I may have to change my mind on that.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Wake-Up Call---Russian Espionage in America! July 5 2010
By Dr. Miguel Faria - Published on Amazon.com
This is the second time I have read and perused this magnificent book---and what a momentous and timely book it is! The book reads much like a cliffhanger spy novel, though its nonfiction and its information is true and disturbing. The message is as timely today as it was in 2007 when it was first published.

After World War II, it took the valiant efforts of the Russian defector, code clerk Igor Gozenko, to awaken America and her allies to the fact that Uncle Joe, the greatest mass murderer in history, and our Russian communist friends were conducting serious, devastating espionage against the United States (e.g., atomic secrets among others) at the same time that we were providing the Soviets with vital economic and military aid during "The Great Patriotic War" against the Nazis.

The Berlin Wall comes crashing down in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapses in 1991. Again, the Russians were said to be our friends and allies in the war against (Islamic) terrorism. Even a professor wrote enthusiastically that we had reached the end of history, so humanity has to become reconciled to live peacefully under a soft blend of global socialism and capitalism. Now enters Russian master spy defector Sergei Tretyakov of the New York Rezidentura of the SVR ( the former First Chief Directorate of the KGB) to rain on this optimistically dystopic parade.

And Tretyakov is no ordinary spy of the Communist era. He is the first KGB/SVR officer, who was actively spying for the new Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to defect to the USA. According to a senior FBI agent involved in the case, Sergei Tretyakov "has been by far the most important Russian Spy that our side has had in decades...I can tell you this man saved American lives."

It has taken again a courageous Russian defector, who risked his life for many years for the benefit of freedom, to reawaken America to the fact that in addition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the world remains a dangerous place. We learn painfully that the New Russia has not shed entirely its expansionist and authoritarian tendencies. The new subtle threats to former Soviet Republics, such as the Ukraine and Azerbaijan over natural resources and "privileges in the area," not to mention the recent War on Georgia, remain serious threats to peace and world security.(See also, Death of a Dissident by Alex Goldfarb.Death of a Dissident, the Poising of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB)

I will not divulge here what specific intelligence Tretyakov provided to the United States, but will let the reader enjoy thoroughly the suspense packed in this book. And yet, the discerning reader will learn that the perceptive and resourceful Comrade J (Jean) Sergei Tretyakov has additionally provided nuggets of intelligence and geopolitical insights into some of the countries in this very volatile part of the world, where natural resources abound. Even on Turkey, an old friend of America, but now a country that is drifting away from the West by the inadequate diplomacy of short-sighted politicians, Tretyakov provides information about attitudes that are worth studying by Western diplomats.

In short, this is without reservation a thumbs up review for a very powerful book. Pete Early's book is highly recommended, not only for avid readers of Russian espionage, but also for the informed public in general, not to mention American and Western policymakers---who need to study this book the most!

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is the author of Cuba in Revolution - Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002) and the essays, "Stalin's Mysterious Death" (2011), "Stalin, Communists and Fatal Statistics (2011), The Political Spectrum: The Totalitarian Left from Communism to Social Democracy to the Extreme Right, Anarchism (2011)haciendapublishingdotcom.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good behind the scenes tour of Russia's SVR and KGB Feb. 10 2008
By Plasma Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a biography of a Russian KGB/SVR officer. It has interesting behind-the-scenes coverages of a number of international events that either the KGB or SVR had significant roles. I found the book very interesting and read it in one evening.

Strengths: good coverage of the life of a KGB/SVR officer and his experiences. The book generally has good flow and adequate depth of coverage. Very exciting sections that implicate US and foreign officials for roles in spying. The best section discussed historical events that demonstrated corruption at the leadership levels in Russia.

Weaknesses: it appears the officer exaggerates some of his experiences. There are a number of sections that left me confused as to what happened, i.e., some details were clearly been absent. A number of sections did appear censored. Some of the historical details on Russian corruption were clearly exaggerated, but conveyed the spirit to the reader.

Recommended for: those that have an interest in contemporary Russian events, foreign affairs, intelligence, KGB, SVR, CIA, etc...


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