Who were the three men the American and Soviet superpowers exchanged at Berlin's Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie in the first and most legendary prisoner exchange between East and West? Bridge of Spies vividly traces their paths to that exchange on February 10, 1962, when their fate helped to define the conflicts and lethal undercurrents of the most dangerous years of the Cold War.
Bridge of Spies is the true story of three extraordinary characters: William Fisher, alias Rudolf Abel, a British-born KGB agent arrested by the FBI in New York City and jailed as a Soviet superspy for trying to steal America's most precious nuclear secrets; Gary Powers, the American U-2 pilot who was captured when his plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over the closed cities of central Russia; and Frederic Pryor, a young American graduate student in Berlin mistakenly identified as a spy, arrested, and held without charge by the Stasi, East Germany's secret police.
"Riveting, meticulously researched and beautifully written, Bridge of Spies unlocks one of the most fascinating espionage mysteries of the Cold War." (Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat)
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Bridge of Spies
Read by the author and just over eleven hours of listening. William Fisher, Gary Powers, and Frederic Pryor are the focus of Bridge of Spies. Most Americans have at least heard the name Gary Powers. He’s the U2 pilot that was captured by the Soviets and accused of spying. There is even a museum today in Russia with the wreckage of his airplane … repeat: today. Old cold war enmities still exist, huh. Well, the fact is, he really was spying … a truism and embarrassment for the United States at the time. But … our soviet friends were not innocent victims in the spy games, as Nikita Khrushchev wanted the world to buy into his righteous indignation at the time.
The book is not a novel, it is not the thrill ride of a fictional James Bond (Fleming) or Mitch Rapp (Flynn) or Jason Bourne (Ludlum), etc. Bridge of Spies is the more mundane, and equally deadly, truth of spies … American, British, Soviet, and the political leadership behind the espionage … they’re all guilty, spying was (and still is) a truism.
Narration is great. It’s always nice to hear the words of the author as he intended.
Read this book as a prelude to understanding the upcoming movie to be released the fall of 2015 starring Tom Hanks. Who doesn’t like Tom :-).
I'd have no problem whatever recommending this read. It is a wonderful exposition on an historical event of my times.
"An Officer and A Spy", by Robert Harris. Both are stories of men wronged by their agencies, and finally exonerated. Fascinating stuff.
Mr. Whittell seemed to have a grasp of when intensity is necessary. Also, I enjoyed his characterizations. He is a very fine reader.
Finally, the whole story!
I'm seventy years old, and have memories of the U-2 event. I especially remember the denigration of Mr. Powers by the american press at the time. I am completely pleased that this book has fleshed out the entire episode. As a kid, I was captivated by the entire "spy plane" excitement. The book has taken me to a wonderful place of understanding.