Strangers on a Bridge

  • by James Donovan
  • Narrated by George Newbern
  • 13 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Originally published in 1964, this is the "enthralling...truly remarkable" (The New York Times Book Review) insider account of the Cold War spy exchange that is now the subject of the major motion picture Bridge of Spies by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks - with a new foreword by Jason Matthews, New York Times best-selling author of Red Sparrow and Palace of Treason.
In the early morning of February 10, 1962, James B. Donovan began his walk toward the center of the Glienicke Bridge, the famous "Bridge of Spies" that then linked West Berlin to East. With him walked Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, master spy and for years the chief of Soviet espionage in the United States. Approaching them from the other side, under equally heavy guard, was Francis Gary Powers, the American U-2 spy plane pilot famously shot down by the Soviets, whose exchange for Abel Donovan had negotiated. These were the strangers on a bridge, men of East and West, representatives of two opposed worlds meeting in a moment of high drama. Abel was the most gifted, the most mysterious, the most effective spy in his time. His trial, which began in a Brooklyn United States District Court and ended in the Supreme Court of the United States, chillingly revealed the methods and successes of Soviet espionage. No one was better equipped to tell the whole absorbing history than James B. Donovan, who was appointed to defend one of his country's enemies and did so with scrupulous skill.
In Strangers on a Bridge, the lead prosecutor in the Nuremburg Trials offers a clear-eyed and fast-paced memoir that is part procedural drama, part dark character study, and plays like a noirish espionage thriller. From the first interview with Abel to the exchange on the bridge in Berlin, here is an important historical narrative that is "as fascinating as it is exciting" (The Houston Chronicle).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A solid read

Donovan's journalistic account is an interesting counterpoint to the Spielberg film based on the book. It's less sentimental, but often no less gripping, than the movie, particularly the scenes set in East Germany. It's also a fascinating record of a time in American history when the average American could feel comfortable expressing an unironic, idealistic view, as opposed to the cynicism that might dominate a report of such proceedings today. Sometimes I sensed Donovan might be leaving out significant parts of his story, in service to his own sense of patriotism.
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- L. Lipkis

Very interesting book... looking forward to movie

Where does Strangers on a Bridge rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Towards the top of the middle...


What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The conflict between the main characters obligation as a citizen and a lawyer


Which character – as performed by George Newbern – was your favorite?

The main character, the lawyer


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- Dan "I'm an avid audiobook listener since 2007. I prefer non-fiction but I also branch out to fiction from time to time."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-04-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio