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Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War
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Hahtoolah | 410 comments Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War, by Giles Whittell (2010)

This book of non-fiction delves into the events leading up to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall. In the 1950s, Willie Fisher, also known as Rudolf Abel, was in the United States as an undercover agent for the USSR. Through a comedy of errors, he was captured by the FBI, tried and sent to Federal Prison.

Francis Gary Powers was an American pilot hired by the CIA to fly reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union to look for Soviet missile sites. He piloted a U-2, which could fly at unimaginable heights. It was believed that the plane was shot down, survival of the pilot was not possible. All that changed on May 1, 1960, when the U-2 Powers was flying was, indeed, shot down over the USSR and Powers survived the crash. He was immediately captured, tried as a spy and imprisoned.

Around the same time, wanderlust Frederic Pryor, was studying communist economics at the Free University in West Berlin. Until the Berlin Wall was constructed, he freely crossed between East and West Berlin. A fact not unnoticed by the East German police. He was arrested on suspicion of spying and imprisoned. He had no connections with the US Government, but his parents were wealthy and were acquainted with some powerful men in Washington.

Bridge of Spies sets the foundation of the nuclear missile discussions, or lack thereof, between the two superpowers. Shortly before Powers was shot down, US President Eisenhower and Soviet leader Khrushechv were poised to meet in Paris to discuss a nuclear test ban treaty. The U-2 incident derailed the meeting with a growing distrust evident between the US and the Soviet Union. The author details the tensions and misunderstandings of both leaders.

Two years later, however, tempers had cooled somewhat, and each country recognized the benefits of holding a prisoner exchange. The details of the exchange were carefully planned. Abel had an inkling that an exchange might be possible, but Powers and Pryor were completely unprepared.

This is a very readable history of the events leading up to, and surrounding the U-2 incident and its impact on relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.


message 2: by Joanne (new) - added it

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7252 comments I love a good non-fiction, onto the list it goes

And very good review!


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