The Sword and the Shield

  • by Christopher Andrew, Vasilli Mitrokhin
  • Narrated by Robert Whitfield
  • 31 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This book reveals the most complete picture ever of the KGB and its operations in the United States and Europe. It is based on an extremely top secret archive, which details the full extent of its worldwide network.
Christopher Andrew is professor of modern and contemporary history and chair of the history department at Cambridge University, a former visiting professor of national security at Harvard, a frequent guest lecturer at other United States universities, and a regular host of BBC radio and TV programs. His books - which include Her Majesty’s Secret Service; KGB: The Inside Story (with Oleg Gordievsky); and For the President’s Eyes Only - have established him as one of the world’s leading authorities on intelligence history.


What the Critics Say

“A sweeping, densely documented history…Thanks to Comrade Mitrokhin, the KGB and most who spied for it have been stripped naked.”  (New York Times Book Review)
The Sword and the Shield will stand as an indispensable reference work on Soviet espionage for years to come.” (Washington Post)
“Whitfield’s [narration]…is certainly appropriate for this presentation.”  (Kliatt)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book on the history of the KGB

Dreams come true.

Never thought this book would make it to Audible, The subtitle -The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB really describes the book that took Mitrokhin 18 yesrs to compile in the about the KGB and clearly it was his obsession. Many consider the Mitrokhin Archive to be the Bible of the Cold War from the KGB side and clearly it has tremendous historical importance as one of the main books of this age.

It should not be only book or even the first book you read, but it will be the one you keep and refer back to again and again. This book will give you a very detailed glance into the inner workings of the KGB -Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti 0 Committee for State Security. The importance of this book from a historical perspective cannot be lost of the current generations in Russia as the current president Vladimir Putin was a KGB agent in East Germany in the 1980s.

Robert Whitfield (Simon Vance) does an absolutely fantastic job narrating this book and the author Christopher Andrew has done an equally fantastic job writing the book. It is easily one of the best written books that I have ever read. It was a joy and pleasure to read. Whitfield's can actually pronounce the English as well as the Russian names correctly, which is a pleasure to listen to in this book.

Although this book was published in 2000 it is still a great historical account of the KGB. If you are interested in the fictional accounts of John LeCarre, Len Deighton, and other writers of spies during the Cold War you will love this book. If you like Spycraft by Wallace, Melton and Schlesinger you will love this book.

I loved this book and you will love it too.

The book is very long. I love that it is in audio format on, but I would also get a copy for your reference shelf. It is a wonderful book.

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- Clydene

Details galore

Would you listen to The Sword and the Shield again? Why?

Tremendously detailed history of KGB operations. This book has a broad scope -- beginning with the birth of the Cheka in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution and continuing through to the 1980's. However, the main focus is on KGB operations during the Cold War. If you're looking for a lot of details, you'll love it. If not, you may find it a bit tedious. Very good narration.

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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-18-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.