MORTAL CRIMES: The Greatest Theft in History: Soviet Penetration of the Manhattan Project

Nigel West, Author . Enigma $27 (275p) ISBN 978-1-929631-21-6

West, a prolific writer on pre- and post-WWII espionage, delivers an in-depth work, this time on Soviet efforts to acquire secrets about the Allies' efforts to develop the atomic bomb. Using recently declassified information from Soviet archives as well as from FBI, CIA and NSA files in the U.S., West assembles pieces of "one of the most significant intricate jigsaw puzzles in history," showing a full story of atomic espionage in America. The cornerstone of his work rests on the Venona files, declassified by the U.S. in the 1990s, which provided a new and entirely authentic list of code names of British and American spies for the Soviet Union. Although West previously wrote about these files in Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War , this new work far from rehashes old information. West puts Venona at the center of a much larger portrait of the key successes and failures of British, American and Canadian espionage units. One of the best sections details not only how the FBI was slow to grasp the scale of Soviet espionage on the West Coast, but also how military authorities were to blame for not sharing secrets, such as not even telling J. Edgar Hoover the purpose of Los Alamos. Overall, West's book makes an important contribution to espionage studies by showing the extent to which Stalin was able to use willing accomplices in the West to provide him with Manhattan Project secrets and help the Soviets develop their own A-bomb. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
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FORMATS
Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-936274-82-6
Hardcover - 279 pages - 978-1-929631-29-2
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