The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal – David E. Hoffman
My Rating – Must Read
Level – Easy, fast read; medium length
The story, broadly, is about the CIA field office in Moscow and its operations. Under different CIA directors and even field office directors, their focuses change or ramp up with the escalation of the Cold War. More specifically, the book is about Adolf Tolkachev, a scientist at a research facility specializing in radar technology. He is disillusioned with the Soviet Union and has a cool backstory twist from his wife. This drives him to ‘inflict as much damage as possible.”
I’ve been on a bit of a Russian kick recently, especially the spy stuff (Bridge of Spies, The Americans, and just finished Crime and Punishment), so this seemed to fit in nicely. This story is so wild when, as you are reading, you stop and remember that it is true. Aside from that, you will read this book as if it were written by Tom Clancy; it is that riveting and compelling. Of course, it is also funny to read about their special spy technology. I have a crappy five year old cellphone, and it has more capabilities in it than most of the stuff they use combined.
I’d highly recommend this book as a must read for anyone who is interested in either spy stories or the cold war. I’m not sure if they play to print it in paperback, but if they do, I’d probably hold off and get it next year and make it a beach read.