by Dan Smith (Goodreads Author)
1920, central Ru…more
1920, central Russia. The Red Terror tightens its hold. Kolya has deserted his Red Army unit and returns home to bury his brother and reunite with his wife and sons. But he finds the village silent and empty. The men have been massacred in the forest. The women and children have disappeared.
In this remote, rural Russian community the folk tales that mothers tell their children by candlelight take on powerful significance, and the terrifying legend of Koschei, The Deathless One, begins to feel very real. Kolya sets out on a journey through dense, haunting forests and across vast plains against the bitter winter, in the desperate hope he will find his wife and two boys—and find them alive. But there are very dark things in Kolya's past. And, as he strives to find his family, there's someone—or something—following his trail . . .
by Bruce Riedel
In What We Won, CIA and National Security Council veteran Bruce Riedel tells the story of America's secret war in Afghanistan and the defeat of the Soviet 40th Red Army in the war that proved to be the final battle of the cold war. He seeks to answer one simple question —why did this intelligence operation succeed so brilliantly?
Riedel has the vantage point few others can offer: He was ensconced in the CIA's Operations Center when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979. The invasion took the intelligence community by surprise. But the response, initiated by Jimmy Carter and accelerated by Ronald Reagan, was a masterful intelligence enterprise.
Many books have been written about intelligence failures —from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. Much less has been written about how and why intelligence operations succeed. The answer is complex. It involves both the weaknesses and mistakes of America's enemies, as well as good judgment and strengths of the United States.
Riedel introduces and explores the complex personalities pitted in the war —the Afghan communists, the Russians, the Afghan mujahedin, the Saudis, and the Pakistanis. And then there are the Americans —in this war, no Americans fought on the battlefield. The CIA did not send officers into Afghanistan to fight or even to train.
In 1989, victory for the American side of the cold war seemed complete. Now we can see that a new era was also beginning in the Afghan war in the 1980s, the era of the global jihad. This book examines the lessons we can learn from this intelligence operation for the future and makes some observations on what came next in Afghanistan —and what is likely yet to come. [close]
by Cynthia Rogers Parks (Goodreads Author)
Matryoshka dolls were already being copied across Russia to be shipped around the world. But the set given to Valentina Gubinova were originals, painted by the artist Maliutin himself and presented to Valentina on the birth of her first child, a girl they had named Olena.
Valentina would treasure them, allowing her children only rare glimpses of the little dolls, and when the time came to flee the Rose Palace, they were among the few of its treasures not left behind. When the time came for Olena herself to flee her homeland, they would accompany her. And, as impossible as it seems, when her own daughter, Maria, was forced to repeat the cruel pattern, she would carry them with her to a new continent.
This story, of the astonishing chain of events that brought them to my hand, was mine to flesh, but its bones were not mine, and much of the telling was beyond my control. I was bound by certain bald truths and by details of recorded history. I was guided by the memories of the living, but obliged to acknowledge the authority of the dead.
This is my story, but it has happened before. All of us, whether we know it or not, live our lives within, encased, and surrounded by the lives of others. We are born, we grow, we live and die within the chrysalis of those who came before. We are all of us nesting dolls. Nesting dolls all. [close]
― Sarah Miller, The Lost Crown
― Yuri Gagarin
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