Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sword & the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB” as Want to Read:
The Sword & the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sword & the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB (Mitrokhin Archive #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,220 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Based on unprecedented access to a secret archive of intelligence, The Sword and the Shield presents by far the most complete picture we have ever had of the KGB and its operations in the United States and Europe, revealing for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network. Vasili Mitrokhin worked for almost thirty years in the foreign intelligence archives of th ...more
Audio CD
Published March 1st 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sword & the Shield, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sword & the Shield

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read for those interested in Russian or Cold War history or espionage. This book is very thorough, so be prepared for a long read. The writing style is consistent, so my flagging interest at the midway point in the book was a result of my general lack of interest of the post-Stalin Cold War period.

The notes secreted away from the archives and published in the West reveal some very important historical facts. In a broad context, it is clear that the Soviet system was never abl
Marvin Goodman
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
First of all, I'm filled with respect for the dedication it took for Vasili Mitrokhin to painstakingly copy thousands upon thousands of documents, as a KGB archivist, and secretly store them under his home. The trove most assuredly has been of incalculable value to historians and western intelligence agencies. Because I've always been a fan of the espionage genre - both historical and fictional - I expected to binge-read this book, growing drunk on previously unavailable levels of detail and acc ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: espionage fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
This volume (1999) continues and substantially recapitulates Andrew's previous KGB (1991). Like the former, Andrew consulted with a former KGB agent, this time with one who had had long-term access to the KGB archives. Both books are histories beginning with the overthrow of the Czar in 1917, the former going up to Gorbachev, the latter to Yeltsin. Both also discuss the allied intelligence agencies of the Warsaw Pact countries. Reading one right after the other I found the repetition helpful in ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vasill Mitrohhin is a hero among historians - he had the amazing courage to keep an astonishing amount of data about the relentless spying activities of the soviets from being hidden and deleted.

The result is this very detailed book, which shows how the soviets spied on a scale hard to imagine from the start until the collapse of communism and how so many westerners collaborated with them.

Once again the reality proves to be more fascinating and incredible than fiction.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vasili Mitrokhin took a lot of work home with him--and not just his--took notes, sometimes verbatim, and then smuggled the notes out with him when he defected.

Ranging from bone-chilling and frightening to ridiculous and laughable, this book may not have all the KGB's secrets, but it has a lot of them. The KGB could be brutally efficient, but at times its efforts were wildly out of proportion with any sort of rational estimation of the level of threat something presented. Paranoia and conspiracy
Antonio Nunez
Quite recently a colleague told me that he resented a newspaper columnist who had referred to a relative of his as a communist spy. My colleague believed his relative had been an innocent victim of McCarthyist red baiting. I knew that his relative was no innocent but a high-level KGB operative. It said so in the Mitrokhin Archive vol. I, "The Sword and the Shield".

One of the tragedies of the Cold War is that many western communist spies, traitors to their own countries and dupes to one of the wo
Sep 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, espionage, e-read
A subtitle that should be considered by any potential reader is "The Paranoia of Stalin". The information alone in the odd way it is presented regarding the activities of Stalin alone make this book worth investigating for those interested in this part of Russian/Soviet history.

Three stars is a higher rating than this work merits on all counts except raw information. And it is raw. Indeed this rates as one of the most poorly organized and constructed historical works of this caliber that has bee
Dec 16, 2006 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: committed readers
This thing is dense. It's not really well written, but the information presented is amazing. It's the Mitrokhin papers, basically hand-copied archives from the KGB archivist, who defected in the early 1990s.
I pick it up every few months, read a couple of hundred pages, and put it down.
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think we fully appreciate yet the revelations that are in this book.
Craig Fiebig
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The greatest political philosophy about-face followed the announcement of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. CP members around the world shifted from "Hitler is evil" to "Hitler's our friend" in less than 48 hours, a position they endorsed and maintained until he invaded Russia in operation Barbarossa in 1941. After the invasion CPs reverted to their original position. Today we see almost the same behavior. Democrats inexplicably described Republican concerns over the USSR/Russian Federation s ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB
  • The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB
  • Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America
  • The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War
  • Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer: The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames
  • A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency
  • The Great Terror: A Reassessment
  • Spymaster: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West
  • Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB
  • Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag
  • Man Without A Face: The Autobiography Of Communism's Greatest Spymaster
  • Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War
  • Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire
  • Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to al-Qaeda
  • The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents
  • The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era
  • The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books V-VII
  • Tiger Trap: America's Secret Spy War with China
Christopher Maurice Andrew is an historian at the University of Cambridge with a special interest in international relations and in particular the history of intelligence services.
More about Christopher M. Andrew...

Other Books in the Series

Mitrokhin Archive (2 books)
  • The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB & the Battle for the Third World