Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives

Article excerpt

The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives, by Nigel West and Oleg Gordievsky.

This is the most sensational volume to appear so far in Yale University Press's rapidly growing library on Soviet espionage during the 1930's and 40's. The authors-espionage journalist Nigel West (pseudonym of Rupert Allason, a Conservative ex-MP) and Oleg Tsarev, a former KGB operative posted to London-accessed Moscow Center files to confirm, disconfirm, or extend what has long been known, believed, or suspected about the Cambridge Five (Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, and John Cairncross) as well as a host of lesser but highly effective agents. Richly detailed and slickly written, The Crown Jewels is a riveting read and a potential supplement to Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassilev's The Haunted Wood and another Yale volume Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. But let the reader beware: West does not play entirely straight. Wrapping up a long and important chapter on Cairncross, he asserts that after exposure in 1979, the first atomic spy "fled to France and completed his memoirs shortly before his death in 1995. …

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