Moe Berg

Title:                      Moe Berg

Author:                 Louis Kaufman

Kaufman, Louis (1974, 1975) Barbara Fitzgerald, and Tom Sewell. Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy. Boston: Little, Brown

LCCN:    74020540

GV865.B38 K38 1975


Date Posted:      February 21, 2017

For a more recent book on Moe Berg see The Catcher Was A Spy[1], Spies, Pop Flies and French Fries[2], and Secret Intelligence[3]. It is doubtful that Moe Berg was involved in anything to do with the German nuclear program as he would have had no preparation to understand the science or technology. He is more often referred to concerning Japan.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[4]

The story of that amazing combination of scholar and professional athlete who served in OSS from 1943 to 1945. The authors have given a journalistic account of Berg’s wartime work, with sources indicated only in the text. According to them, Berg went into Yugoslavia in 1943 to evaluate the situation there, dropped into Norway, and entered a German-held factory in Florence disguised as a German officer. His greatest intelligence contribution, again according to the authors, was in uncovering German scientific secrets in general and atom research and planning in particular. It is difficult at this point to judge how accurate or complete this story of Berg’s work in intelligence really is. Some of the story is based on material released to Berg’s relatives by the U.S. government under FOIA. There are quoted tributes, albeit general in nature, from General Groves of the Manhattan Project and Whitney Shepardson, head of OSS’s SI. There is, however, no mention of Berg in Pash[5], Goudsmit[6], the OSS history[7], or in any major work on OSS. Exactly what role Berg played and what intelligence contributions he made have yet to be determined.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[8]

The biography of Morris (“Moe”) Berg, linguist, lawyer, for fifteen years a catcher in big league baseball, and a successful American intelligence field agent. Recruited into the OSS in 1943, Berg soon specialized in gathering information overseas on the progress in Germany in the development and assembly of an atomic weapon. At one point Berg attended a lecture by one of Germany’s leading physicists and experimenter in atomic research. The physicist, Werner Heisenberg, was lured through Berg’s efforts to Switzerland to lecture at the Federal Institute of Technology. The authors traced Berg’s life in intelligence through factual research and interviews.

[1] Dawidoff, Nicholas (1994). The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg. New York: Pantheon Books

[2] McCarthy, Linda (1999). Spies, Pop Flies and French Fries: Stories I Told My Favorite Visitors to the CIA Exhibit Center. Markham, VA: History is a Hoot

[3] Volkman, Ernest (1989) and Blaine Baggett. Secret Intelligence: The Inside Story of America’s Espionage Empire. New York: Doubleday

[4] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, p. 266

[5] Pash, Boris T. (1969). The ALSOS Mission. New York: Award House

[6] Goudsmit, Samuel A. (1947). ALSOS. New York: Henry Schuman

[7] Smith, R. Harris (2005). OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press

[8] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 206


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One Response to Moe Berg

  1. Pingback: OSS—The U.S. Office of Strategic Service, Chapter 18 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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