Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, And Secret Operations

Title:                      Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, And Secret Operations

Author:                 Richard C.S. Trahair

Trahair, R. C. S. (2009, 2012) and Robert L. Miller. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, And Secret Operations. New York: Enigma Books

LCCN:    2009517430

UB270 .T73 2009



  • “3rd edition, revised and updated.”

Date Posted:      February 25, 2016

Reviewed by Hayden Peake.[1]

Richard Trahair is a social research adviser and consulting psychologist at La Trobe University in Australia.

His coauthor is the senior editor and publisher of Enigma Books. The first and second editions of Trahair’s Encyclopedia were reviewed in Intelligence Studies in 2005[2] and given poor marks for the number of errors they contained, especially since they were “intended as a useful tool to support espionage studies,” This updated and revised edition extends that objective to include “the study of specific circumstances that gave so much importance to espionage during the Cold War period.” (p. xiv) It is also intended to be a tool for authors and “the facts have been checked once again as thoroughly as possible.’’ (p. xxx) But while many corrections have indeed been made, some errors remain. For example, Oleg Kalugin was never a defector, and he did not expose the Koechers, the Czechoslovakian couple acting as KGB surrogate agents in the CIA in the 1980s. (p. 259)

CIA officer Martha Peterson was not “the chance victim of a simple KGB active measure” (p. 413) nor were tradecraft errors the reasons the KGB was able to capture her, but it was the Koechers who had exposed her, a topic she discusses in her memoir.[3] Wrong, too, is the assertion that “while at Cambridge,” Kim Philby approached Donald Maclean, and asked him to work for the NKVD. (p. 418) Philby gave Maclean’s name to his handler a year after he had graduated.[4] Finally, Harry Gold never converted to communism (p. 157)—ironically, he was the only member of the Fuchs atom network who was not a communist and who told the truth at his trial.

The book, however, still has many positive features. The number of entries has been increased. An entry on China was among the additions. Other entries have been revised, and the valuable review of intelligence literature, the biographical data, the chronology, and the sources cited after each entry have likewise been updated.

The authors deserve credit for an improved edition, though readers are cautioned to check the facts against the sources provided rather than assume their accuracy.

[1] Hayden Peake is a frequent reviewer of books on intelligence and this review appeared in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (19, 1, Winter/Spring, 2013, pp. 110-111). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Di recto rate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. These and many other reviews and articles may be found on line at http://www.cia.gov.

[2] “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf,” Studies in Intelligence (49, 4, December 2005). This article may be found at https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no4/Bookshelf_11.htm

[3] Milton Bearden (2003) and James Risen. The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB. New York: Random House; and Peterson, Martha Denny (2012). The Widow Spy: My CIA journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow. Wilmington, NC: Red Canary Press

[4] For more on this point see the transcript of Philby’s 1977 speech to the KGB in Philby, Rufina (1999, 2003) with Hayden Peake and Mikhail Lyubimov. The Private Life of Kim Philby: The Moscow Years. London: St. Ermin’s Press.

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