The Lost Spy: An American in Stalins Secret Service
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Return to Book Page. Then, in , it surfaced briefly, when Boris Yeltsin handed over a deeply censored dossier to the White House. The Lost Spy at last reveals the truth: Oggins was one of the first Americans to spy for the Soviets. Based on six years of international sleuthing, The Lost Spy traces Oggins's rise in beguiling detail — a brilliant Columbia University graduate sent to run a safe house in Berlin and spy on the Romanovs in Paris and the Japanese in Manchuria — and his fall: death by poisoning in a KGB laboratory.
As harrowing as Darkness at Noon and as tragic as Dr. Zhivago , The Lost Spy is one of the great nonfiction detective stories of our time.
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Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published August 17th by W. Norton Company first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Lost Spy , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 29, Jason Koivu rated it liked it Shelves: biography , history , non-fiction , war. Very little is known about him, especially after he went underground overseas to work as a Communist spy.
Oggins' wife is just as interesting and much of the book revolves around her story. It also spends a large number of pages on their sickly and cri The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service is a far more titillating title that what's between the covers.
It also spends a large number of pages on their sickly and crippled son Robin, a stamp collector and scholar who spent 40 years of his life studying medieval falconry He was a spy prior to WWII, he was a captive during the Cold War, and when the Americans showed interest in re-Patriating him, he was seen as too valuable and possibly damaging to the Soviet cause to be released. Like any spy, his operations were kept under wraps. When the USSR fell and their vast secret files were left open to the eyes of the world, some information was garnered.
Then Russia went back to its old ways, closed the doors again and much spy-craft information from the period was once again hidden from view. No doubt certain governments obtained all the necessary info, but they're certainly not going to tip their hand for the likes of some random journalist looking to write a biography. Perhaps the material is so lacking that nobody should've bothered attempting a book on the subject. Even as scant as the available material is, it still could've been handled better in more deft hands.
For instance, there's a whole lotta flash backs and flash forwards goin' on here.
Some heighten the tension and suspense, while some give away the ending and spoil what little thrill this story possesses. And there really is very little The reader is left to assume all the possible or even probable nefarious dealings Oggins undertook. However, at least at the start of his career, all he seemed to do was house-sit. Him and his wife would go undercover as Americans living aboard and act as cover by renting out an apartment that could be used by the real agents doing the dirty work, none of which of course is detailed in the book.
So yeah View all 6 comments. An excellent and highly detailed piece of research. The Soviet Union devoured most of its idealistic champions and directly or indirectly destroyed the lives of millions. The story of Isaiah Oggins is one tragedy in millions. Andrew Meier has done a great job not only piecing together the life of Oggins but also the feeling of the times in which he was living together with a wealth of information about those who were living in the same times and whose lives or actions touched on the unfolding te An excellent and highly detailed piece of research.
Andrew Meier has done a great job not only piecing together the life of Oggins but also the feeling of the times in which he was living together with a wealth of information about those who were living in the same times and whose lives or actions touched on the unfolding terror that became Oggins life. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to get a feeling for what it was like to grow up in unique and revolutionary times when it still seemed there was everything to live and fight for. As Stalin said "One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic" just need to see the media to know how right he was on this, this book opens up the tragedy of one of the statistics.
Jan 07, Nikki rated it liked it. I give this one 3 stars for the information and the incredible research that must have gone into unfolding this true story. The delivery is a little cold and I can easily see how it will lose a reader looking for entertainment. The the narrator's voice on the audio version didn't help as it added to the dryness of the presentation.
View 1 comment. Oct 05, Tom rated it really liked it. Meier tells the story of spy Cy Oggins who was murdered by the Soviets during the Stalin regime. Oggins was an intriguing character, and the author gives a lot of detail of the communist movement in the US during the s and 30s. Aug 14, Preston rated it really liked it Shelves: espionage , history , adventure , biography. How often does historical non-fiction keep a reader up at night? Ideologues, Cy and his wife Nerma joined the Communist Party in the early 20th century and, in the late twenties, became part of the Soviet underground, run by Soviet spy agencies answering to a murderous tyrant, Josef Stalin.
The story is wide ranging, compelling, informative, and interesting. The Lost Spy forces us to see the deep cultural roots of Soviet, now Russian, secrecy, distrust, paranoia, and spy craft that even now guide their efforts to undermine non-Russian governments. Meier was able to take advantage of a short period of openness that shed light on a brutal regime that murdered around 20 million Soviet citizens without any just cause.
The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service by Andrew Meier, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Just the paranoia of one tyrant served by many sycophants and many more just wanting to survive or take a step up the ladder. Their reward was betrayal by the torchbearers of the revolution they embraced. We like to think that the "independent" actions of others or ourselves have little impact on our lives, regions, governments. But they do. A story of one spy reveals the cultural roots of the FBI, the impact of espionage on an unprepared nation, and the cultural roots of the anti-communist activities taken by Congress in the fifties.
May 24, Jo Stafford rated it really liked it. Kafka sprang to mind when I read Andrew Meier's account of Cy Oggins' arrest by Soviet secret police in and his detention in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison before he was sent to a labor camp in the outer reaches of the gulag. Like Josef K. How did a reserved and bookish American from small-town Connecticut end up in Stalin's Kafka sprang to mind when I read Andrew Meier's account of Cy Oggins' arrest by Soviet secret police in and his detention in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison before he was sent to a labor camp in the outer reaches of the gulag.
How did a reserved and bookish American from small-town Connecticut end up in Stalin's totalitarian hell? In the remarkable piece of detective work that is The Lost Spy, Meier traces Oggins' journey from young communist idealist to spy in Stalin's service, a path that ultimately resulted in brutal betrayal. This is a well-researched and intelligent dive into a history that, despite it being so recent, has been largely forgotten: the world of radicals with an all-consuming faith in the Soviet Union as the savior of the working-class and the terror the Soviet state unleashed on many of those true believers.
Dec 14, Florence rated it it was amazing. He was an intellectual; a college professor, idealistic and hopeful that the new Russian Communist government would benefit humanity.
He and his wife supported the cause with no reservations. They were tapped by the Soviets to gather information surreptitiously, under assumed identities in Paris, China and wherever their handlers ordered them to go. Cy eventually separated from his family After the Great War Cy Oggins became involved in radical politics, supporting the newly formed Soviet Union.
Cy eventually separated from his family and set out alone only to disappear from view. This author tracked the story faithfully for many years, like a hound dog. Cy eventually turned up in a Siberian prison, with a body and soul barely intact and his idealism surely shattered. Alas, the worker's paradise turned out to be run by a Stalin, a ruthless killer. Oggins did not survive his odyssey. I recommend this amazing mystery, which shall remain only partially solved, with no reservations. Jun 16, Malcolm rated it liked it.
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More about the author's research than actual stories about the spy. American lefties recruited by the Comintern in the 's, the husband imprisoned in Stalin's purges and ultimately killed is the bones of a fascinating story. I'm glad to have read this book, but I would love to have learned more about what Cy and Nerma actually did in Paris or the nature of the import business Cy worked in when he was sent to Manchukuo.
The author did a good job with what he was able to uncover. While the subject matter is relatively interesting, the style of writing and the jumping around through history makes it a difficult read. I walked away from it a lot as evident in my start and finish dates.
Sep 21, Sharon rated it really liked it.
Thoughtful and troubling account of an idealist sucked beneath Stalin's quicksand. Very well researched. Nov 21, Cynthia rated it liked it. If the title character had read Dante's Inferno while attending Columbia University, one wonders if he took note that a frozen hell is the fate of traitors. Only because the Soviet secret police files were briefly, partially, opened in the early nineties when the USSR dissolved, are we able to catch a glimpse of the strange tale of Cy Oggins.
Author Meier takes a cold case approach to the highly redacted files he gat If the title character had read Dante's Inferno while attending Columbia University, one wonders if he took note that a frozen hell is the fate of traitors. Author Meier takes a cold case approach to the highly redacted files he gathers. One admires how he tracks down and traces every piece of old evidence, witnesses, testimony, and follows new clues to untangle the tissue of lies that made up the life of a spy. Cy Oggins, born in in Connecticut, was the American son of Russian immigrants.
Cy became radicalized at Columbia University and became a Communist. Ironically, they have to pose as a non-political, bourgeois couple as they operate safe houses and spy on the exiled royal Romanovs. In the late thirties, Cy is back in Russia, arrested by his former masters, and shipped to a Siberian slave labor camp for an eight year sentence.
Nerma is now the single parent of an only child, a son named Robin, who never renounces the system that has destroyed her husband, her son, and her own life. Son Robin is Meier's reluctant co-investigator, who supplies a box of photos and documents that help fill in the details of his lost father. I felt the most sympathy for Robin, now a retired professor, who wants to know and yet doesn't want to know the story of his parents' life. This book is quite a morality tale about good-intentioned people who will do any deed and cross any line for the sake of a grand cause.
May 02, Alec rated it liked it. This was a perfect book to pick up on a whim and listen to in the car. Had I read the book it would have taken longer, but the measured narration ensured I kept going through the parts that slowed down. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, I just wasn't captivated at all times.
At its heart, this is story of a boy discovering his father's secret life and coming to terms both with the choice he made and the ramifications thereof. When taken through this lens, it is a heartbreaking tale made all th This was a perfect book to pick up on a whim and listen to in the car. When taken through this lens, it is a heartbreaking tale made all the more so because it's true. Objectively it's also a look at a time, a movement, and an age that isn't so long past as to be irrelevant but still close enough to carry some baggage.
Throughout the book, I enjoyed the peek it afforded to me of a clandestine life in all it's inglorious reality. Oftentimes the shadow world is portrayed though the lens of Bond figures and treat lightly the anxieties, fears, and costs it imposes on its practitioners. Extent x, pages. Isbn Library Locations Map Details. Central Library Borrow it. Library Links. Embed Experimental. Layout options: Carousel Grid List Card. Include data citation:.
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The Lost Spy
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