Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Sword And The Shield: The Mitrokhin…

The Sword And The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB (edition 1999)

by Christopher Andrew (Author)

Series: Mitrokhin Archive (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7981028,389 (3.86)2
Describes a treasure trove of secret documents found by the FBI, and offers facts about every country in the world, as well as information that contributes to the history of the last century.
Title:The Sword And The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB
Authors:Christopher Andrew (Author)
Info:Basic Books (1999), Edition: First Edition, 736 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher ANDREW


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
plenty of interesting information, but cluttered and unstructured, therefore quickly becoming tiring and boring instead of captivating (which potential it did have) ( )
  milosdumbraci | May 5, 2023 |
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 theories will do that to you, and the KGB was nothing if not prone to both.

The only caution I would give is not to dive into this without some background in the Cold War (which I had from various other readings) and some knowledge of the KGB's history (which I did not have). This is a down in the bushes and weeds book, not a holistic history. If you're like me you'd appreciate a bit of framework to hang all the events and names and places on to.

The writing is good. The tone of Andrew's writing tracks well the seriousness and absurdity of the events. If you've had a taste of the Cold War and/or Russian/Soviet history and want something juicier (in more ways than one), definitely pick this up.
( )
  qaphsiel | Feb 20, 2023 |
The book I read was 1864 pages, free on archiv.org. It is well organized.

Christopher M. Andrew has done an excellent job of assembling into a readable account the smuggled voluminous notes made by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin from official top secret KGB files at the risk of his life. They pertain to the period from about 1918 to 1992. The KGB changed names several times. Mitrokhin did not have direct access to GRU (military intelligence) files.

Any professional intelligence hand who fails to read this is derelict. It should interest any alert United States citizen.

Russia today is employing active techniques proven successful over many decades in order to disrupt any comity in the world that might constrain the increase of its (and its potentates') power and influence. They are very good at it despite limitations arising from the institutional paranoia and top-down doctrinaire bureaucracy that have historically plagued their intelligence services. Credit them with maintaining a doomed and brutal government in power for 70 years.

Andrew supplies parenthetically the KGB code names of many of its assets and agents for convenient cross reference to those decrypted in the Venona project, a U.S. counterintelligence program of the Army Signal Intelligence Service and then the National Security Agency from 1943 until 1980 which covertly intercepted over 3,000 NKVD, KGB, and GRU coded messages wherein true names were further encoded and then to some extent identified from context and other sources. Many Venona texts remain undeciphered today, and many true names are not yet worked out. We await the next momentous defection.

The Mitrokhin files largely confirm some accounts, previously of disputed accuracy, of defecting U.S. Communist party spies such as Elizabeth T Bentley and Whittaker Chambers in their books "Out of Bondage" and "Witness". Mention should be made of John D. Barron's account of the remarkable U.S. double agent Morris H. Childs in "Operation Solo: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin". "Witness" is deservedly on many Top Books lists.

Histories of the 20th century, and even of the cold war, generally have not addressed the magnitude of influence of Soviet intelligence activity as proved by these archives, resulting in some lamentable perspective these days (2019). ( )
1 vote KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
A massive infodump. Unfortunately, unless you already have expert knowledge of European history the random barrage of facts and snippets without much context or explanation might prove hard to place in any meaningful whole. There is very little comment or analysis, mostly dry facts. I do not have enough historical knowledge and the book doesn't help with this (rather strangely it starts doing this near the end when explaining the fall of USSR, though again, some previous knowledge still required). There is some analysis and comment in the summary in the last chapter but that should in every chapter to be of any use. Maybe I'll come back to this book when I'm more well read in history. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
The first book and probably the only book you need to read if Soviet Cold War espionage interests you. ( )
  JoeHamilton | Nov 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
ANDREW, Christopherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mitrokhin, Vasilimain authorall editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Посвящаетса всем кто хотел сказать правду, но не сумел - Митрохин
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
Describes a treasure trove of secret documents found by the FBI, and offers facts about every country in the world, as well as information that contributes to the history of the last century.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.86)
1 2
1.5 1
2 4
3 13
3.5 2
4 26
4.5 2
5 20

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 208,703,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible