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A Secret Life: The Polish Colonel, His Covert Mission, And The Price He Paid To Save His Country

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In August 1972, Ryszard Kuklinski, a highly respected colonel in the Polish Army, embarked on what would become one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Despite the extreme risk to himself and his family, he contacted the American Embassy in Bonn, and arranged a secret meeting. From the very start, he made clear that he deplored the Sovi ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 4th 2005 by PublicAffairs (first published January 19th 2004)
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Amanda Anthony
Aug 11, 2014 Amanda Anthony rated it really liked it
I saw the movie "Jack Strong" in Poland, which was about Ryszard Kuklinski, so I was excited to read the book on which it must have been based (plus other sources, I'm sure). In the movie, he was presented as a largely positive character, but it took a long time for him to be (re-)embraced in Poland, and many still view his acts as treason. He always maintained that he had done it for the love and future independence of Poland, and overturning his conviction for treason apparently became a prere ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
This is the story of one of the greatest CIA "assets" of the Cold War, Polish Col. Ryszard Kuklinski, based on first person accounts by those who knew and worked with him. That Col. Kuklinski was a true Polish patriot there can be no doubt. He was most likely the single most important resource of the United States behind the Iron Curtain.
May 30, 2010 Roxanne rated it liked it
This is outside my usual realm of reading material: it's a nonfiction account of the life of a Polish officer who spied for the US during the Cold War. But something about it struck me at the bookstore, and I'm so glad I read it. Ryszard Kuklinski was a man whose love for his country and for freedom inspired him to become a spy for the US. He lived a double life for almost ten years, gradually gaining high rank and advancing his career in the Polish military while at the same time photographing ...more
Cheryllee Krasny
Fantastic- a true hero and patriot.

Well written and interesting. The feelings of stress mixed with the motivation to make a change was beautifully captured - all should read this book to understand the threat that Poland faced from the Soviets.
Feb 02, 2014 Mikolaj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rzeczowa, świetnie udokumentowana opowieść. Dobrze pokazuje odwagę i ryzyko podjęte przez jednego człowieka w obliczu groźby konfliktu nuklearnego.

Historia doprowadzona jest do 2004 roku.
May 29, 2009 Angela rated it it was amazing
I don't ordinarily choose books on espionage and political intrigue, though biographies in general do interest me. I picked this book up at the airport a few years ago, when I was looking for something to occupy the long hours of an international flight. It has turned out to be one of the books I read over and over again! What I love about this book is that it raises serious moral and ethical questions and challenges me to ponder them from a number of angles.
Apr 26, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in real-life espionage tales
Shelves: favorites
New York Times reporter Benjamin Weiser authored this book about R. Kuklinski, who was in the highest echelon of the Polish military during the time of the Warsaw Pact with the Soviet Union. Kuklinski decided in the early seventies to begin providing intelligence to the CIA in order to subvert the Soviets' desire to dominate the West. Although this is a true story, it plays out like a great spy novel.
Oct 02, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it
Ryszard Kukllinski, a polish office who continued to raise in the ranks of the Polish Army, decided to give away Polish and Soviet secrets
to the CIA. He wanted nothing more than Poland to be free of Soviet rule. He continued his espionage for nine years. This is an amazing story of daring
and showed the clandestine operations of the CIA.

Nov 07, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathy by: Elizabeth Urban
An amazing story of espionage and a Polish officers fight for freedom. Kuklinski had nerves of steel!! A fantastic read...and a excellent history lesson.
Mike Pomatto
Jun 26, 2015 Mike Pomatto rated it really liked it
Great story. The book reads slow at times, but the story is one for all to know.
Aug 18, 2013 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book had to much military information to me but my husband will probably like that.
Apr 05, 2010 Digger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting spy story from the Cold War.
Aug 16, 2009 Nina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really, really interesting.
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