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The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—The Stalin Era

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Four years ago, Allen Weinstein, the author of Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, and Alexander Vassiliev, a former Soviet KGB agent-turned-journalist, were allowed to review and copy thousands of classified dispatches that documented the KGB's success in aquiring America's most valuable atomic, military, and diplomatic secrets. These efforts required recruiting a number of ...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published December 22nd 1998 by Random House (first published 1998)
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Sketchbook
Catching up with modern American history : it's a jolt to realize that we had swarms of US-Commie agents from 30s-50s, but this explains the Red Scare and the flamboyant arrival of Joe McCarthy. Crackpot idealism drew some to spying; with others it was a desperate need feel important - the only route to identity.

The most famous deceiver was Alger Hiss. One pundit called him the greatest actor the US ever produced. This intriguing volume scoops up Hiss and other spies. Regrettably the writing is
...more
William
Jan 06, 2016 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Haunted Wood finds the convergence between human nature, sovereign statecraft and ideology. The chapters are organized loosely into biographical vignettes which follow players of both great and doubtful value to soviet intelligence. Weinstein grants them agency, and digs up a scant degree of complexity at minimum for each, through painstaking and well-referenced research. The cardboard cutouts of shadowy figures or ideological cartoons we are used to reading have been rigorously excised and ...more
Lucas
Nov 06, 2008 Lucas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The first half of this book covers the period leading up to World War II, and is not that interesting. A better author could have had a eye for excluding or passing quickly over some of the content, but the writers were going for historical completeness rather than readability. Throughout the book there is an overabundance of blockquotes, footnotes, and many words in quotation marks to show that it is not the authors designation or description but the sources, and all of this breaks up the flow ...more
Riley
Jan 30, 2011 Riley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The "Haunted Wood" is often cited by defenders of the Red Scares as demonstrating that Soviet spying was, indeed, a major threat. After reading it, the conclusion I come off with is a little different: that while there were spies in the 1930s and during World War II, Russian espionage operations were nearly totally disabled by the 1950s when McCarthyism occurred. From the book:

"As for the entire effort to penetrate key American institutions by Moscow's intelligence operatives in the 1930s and wa
...more
Pat Murphy
Jul 26, 2015 Pat Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tales are fact. I didn't find them that interesting though. It is history but it isn't an easy flowing read. Also the stories lack Hollywood pizzazz. Not that it's necessary, but it won't please someone looking for James Bond.
Jason Slemons
Oct 04, 2014 Jason Slemons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, russia
Mainly written from some archived and temporarily declassified russian kgb documents, this is super interesting from a cold war spy perspective. 'nightmover' is nowhere near as interesting.
Sandra
The American and Russian authors, Weinstein and Vassiliev, pieced this together from an exhaustive review of documents released in the late 90s by the KGB, CIA and NSA, including thousands of translated intercepts sent by Soviet agents in the US and USSR during WWII. It provides a fascinating glimpse at the espionage activities of Alger Hiss, the Rosenburgs, the daughter of a US Ambassador to Nazi Germany and many, many others. It is quite humorous in spots, especially when comparing the spy-tra ...more
Mark Levandoski
Dec 06, 2015 Mark Levandoski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very dry.Unable to get into it.Stopped around page 100.
Teryl
Such a fascinating topic, written in the dullest manner possible. Overall a frustrating combination, to want to know what the next sentence says, but to be too distracted to get there! Think I could finish it, and admire it, on a long airplane flight. Surely an asigned text in many, many history classes.
Eugene
Jun 03, 2013 Eugene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read the whole thing but did spend some time in Chap 3 about the case on Martha Dodd. A lot of detail here but maybe overkill for those who don't need minute by minute reports.
aksnowbunny Proden
Sep 30, 2007 aksnowbunny Proden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a history buff intrigued by the kgb
Shelves: historycoldwar
i love spies. and history. this was an intrigueing book that i couldn't put down about the secret communications between our country, the kgb and the rest of the world.
Phillip Tigue
Apr 08, 2013 Phillip Tigue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book could be shortened by 100 pages and it wouldn't harm this book. A tad slow at times, but riveting nonetheless.
Jennifer
Feb 16, 2015 Jennifer marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I only read the first three chapters, to learn more about Martha Dodd, as a follow up to In the Garden of Beasts.
Rod Zemke
Interesting book, but written in a boorish style
Jack
Jan 16, 2009 Jack is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Dry reading - but very eerie.
JenRaye
Apr 04, 2009 JenRaye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF
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