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The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage,…
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The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder

by Alan S. Cowell

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Extremely interesting! I thought that it would be more of a shady conspiracy book, but it turns out that quite a lot is known about the events which occurred. The book is easy to read, throws around a lot of big words every now and then in a lame attempt to appear more intellectual than it is, but in the end, it's a riveting book that all interested people should check out. ( )
  ScribbleKey | Jan 10, 2014 |
5 stars: Super, couldn't put it down.

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From the back cover: Who was Alexander Litvinenko? What had happened in Russia since the end of the Cold War to make his life there untenable. And how did he really die? The life of Alexander Litvinenko provides a riveting narrative in its own right, culminating in an event that rang alarm bells among Western governments at the ease with which radioactive materials were deployed in a major Western capital to commit a unique crime. But it also evokes a wide range of other issues: Russia's lurch to authoritarianism, the return of the KGB to the Kremlin, the perils of a new cold war driven by Russia's oil riches and Vladimir Putin's thirst for power. Alan S. Cowell has written the definitive story of this assassination and of the profound international implications of this first act of nuclear terrorism. A masterful work of investigative reporting, "The Terminal Spy" offers unprecedented insight into one of the most chilling stories of our time.

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This book, the second on this case I've read, was a fabulous, frightening, detailed, fascinating read. It starts by following Litvinenko's tracks on the day he was poisoned (November 1, 2006) or as the book puts it "The day he began to die". It then starts at his formative years, slowly building up to November 2006 and beyond. The chapters on the actual murder, the effects of polonium, his 20 day torturous death, and the detective work tracing the polonium were engaging and unputdownable.

The book fingers Andrei Lugovoi, a former member of the KGB, as the one who provides the fatal dose. The evidence appeared compelling but of course, I am reading one point of view. The book makes it clear that the murder would have to be ordered by someone at the highest levels. Litvinenko himself fingered Putin (as Litvinenko also had shortly before lambasted Putin for the Anna Politkovskaya assassination). It is still unknown whether Putin had foreknowledge or whether the assassination was performed by someone else to please Putin.

The book is also exemplary as it gives a glimpse into present day Russia--which appears to be not too different from the Soviet Union. After skirting with a sort of democracy, it has slid back into authoritarian rule.

A book for my permanent collection. Highly recommended. ( )
  PokPok | Oct 27, 2013 |
Could have been more interesting if the author had not danced all round the place. ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jan 28, 2013 |
Based upon a 2006 actual account of Russia's President Pudin and how a spy, traitor was killed by an old adjective of poisioning. Death by lethal doses of Pollium that was given to the spy's and, traitors in the cold war as a harsh death. A good read if your interested in actual news accounts. Highly recommended, as a who done it mystery of intense investigations in London, Russia, and other Countries. ( )
  nutty7688 | Feb 16, 2009 |
The Terminal Spy By Alan S. Cowell A Review by Colin J. Edwards Published by Doubleday 2008 $26.95 432 pps. A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder. The Terminal Spy is an intrigue with a Russian theme where the unspeakable do horrid things to the unpronounceable. I tend to confuse my …skayas, with my …oviches, and by the time I have sorted those out I have lost the plot. Mr Cowell anticipated my, and perhaps others dilemma, and opens his book with Dramatis Personae. This introduces us to 40 principle characters. I respectfully suggest that the reader studies these three and a bit pages as it will greatly enhance comprehension of the remaining 430. Cowell’s work is at once an important and rewarding example of detailed investigative reporting. Important because it reveals how a foreign (I was tempted to say hostile), country carried out a successful nuclear attack on London, Britain’s capital city. Rewarding because it reads like a fiction spy thriller. It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Alan Cowell is an experienced and accomplished journalist and citizen of the world. He is ‘at-home’ in London Paris or New York, and has vast experience of the Middle East and Africa. The Terminal Spy is a dissection, in the minutest detail of the evidence pertaining to the calculated murder in broad daylight of Alexander Litvinenko at London on November 1st 2006. It is the manner of this murder and why, that makes this volume a page turner par excellence. No one has been brought before the courts for this crime, but by the end of the book there can be no doubt of the identity of the culprit and his accomplices. The book is very well written. It is never dull – which is quite an achievement when one considers the exposure espionage and intelligence gets these days. There are no loose-ends or innuendoes which in a book like this can be infuriating. The Terminal Spy is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable read, and I thoroughly recommend it. ( )
  Ductor | Nov 17, 2008 |
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Ch. 1, Broken Homes, Broken Empire: Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was born on December 4, 1962, in a hospital in Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscos, a university town where his father was a medical student specializing in pediatrics.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385523556, Hardcover)

In a page-turning narrative that reads like a thriller, an award-winning journalist exposes the troubling truth behind the world’s first act of nuclear terrorism.

On November 1, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko sipped tea in London’s Millennium Hotel. Hours later the Russian émigré and former intelligence officer, who was sharply critical of Russian president Vladimir Putin, fell ill and within days was rushed to the hospital. Fatally poisoned by a rare radioactive isotope slipped into his drink, Litvinenko issued a dramatic deathbed statement accusing Putin himself of engineering his murder. Alan S. Cowell, then London Bureau Chief of the New York Times, who covered the story from its inception, has written the definitive story of this assassination and of the profound international implications of this first act of nuclear terrorism.

Who was Alexander Litvinenko? What had happened in Russia since the end of the cold war to make his life there untenable and in severe jeopardy even in England, the country that had granted him asylum? And how did he really die? The life of Alexander Litvinenko provides a riveting narrative in its own right, culminating in an event that rang alarm bells among western governments at the ease with which radioactive materials were deployed in a major Western capital to commit a unique crime. But it also evokes a wide range of other issues: Russia's lurch to authoritarianism, the return of the KGB to the Kremlin, the perils of a new cold war driven by Russia's oil riches and Vladimir Putin's thirst for power.

Cowell provides a remarkable and detailed reconstruction both of how Litvinenko died and of the issues surrounding his murder. Drawing on exclusive reporting from Britain, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States, he traces in unprecedented detail the polonium trail leading from Russia's closed nuclear cities through Moscow and Hamburg to the Millenium Hotel in central London. He provides the most detailed step-by-step explanation of how and where polonium was found; how the assassins tried on several occasions to kill Litvinenko; and how they bungled a conspiracy that may have had more targets than Litvinenko himself. 

With a colorful cast that includes the tycoons, spies, and killers who surrounded Litvinenko in the roller-coaster Russia of the 1990s, as well as the émigrés who flocked to London in such numbers that the British capital earned the sobriquet “Londongrad,” this book lays out the events that allowed an accused killer to escape prosecution in a delicate diplomatic minuet that helped save face for the authorities in London and Moscow.

A masterful work of investigative reporting, The Terminal Spy offers unprecedented insight into one of the most chilling true stories of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fatally poisoned by a rare radioactive isotope slipped into his drink, Russian emigre Alexander Litvinenko issued a dramatic deathbed statement accusing Russian president Vladimir Putin himself of engineering his murder. Alan S. Cowell, then London Bureau Chief of the" New York Times," who covered the story from its inception, has written the definitive story of this assassination and of the profound international implications of this first act of nuclear terrorism.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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