- Title: Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War
- Author: Giles Whittell
- ISBN: 9780767931076
- Page: 409
- Format: Hardcover
Who were the three men the American and Soviet superpowers exchanged at Berlin s Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie in the first and most legendary prisoner exchange between East and West Bridge of Spies vividly traces their paths to that exchange on February 10, 1962, when their fate helped to define the conflicts and lethal undercurrents of the most dangerous yearsWho were the three men the American and Soviet superpowers exchanged at Berlin s Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie in the first and most legendary prisoner exchange between East and West Bridge of Spies vividly traces their paths to that exchange on February 10, 1962, when their fate helped to define the conflicts and lethal undercurrents of the most dangerous years of the Cold War.Bridge of Spies is the true story of three extraordinary characters William Fisher, alias Rudolf Abel, a British born KGB agent arrested by the FBI in New York City and jailed as a Soviet superspy for trying to steal America s most precious nuclear secrets Gary Powers, the American U 2 pilot who was captured when his plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over the closed cities of central Russia and Frederic Pryor, a young American graduate student in Berlin mistakenly identified as a spy, arrested and held without charge by the Stasi, East Germany s secret police By weaving the three strands of this story together for the first time, Giles Whittell masterfully portrays the intense political tensions and nuclear brinkmanship that brought the United States and Soviet Union so close to a hot war in the early 1960s He reveals the dramatic lives of men drawn into the nadir of the Cold War by duty and curiosity, and the tragicomedy of errors that eventually induced Khrushchev to send missiles to Castro Two of his subjects the spy and the pilot were the original seekers of weapons of mass destruction The third, an intellectual, fluent in German, unencumbered by dependents, and researching a Ph.D thesis on the foreign trade system of the Soviet bloc, seemed to the Stasi precisely the sort of person the CIA should have been recruiting He was not In over his head in the world capital of spying, he was wrongly charged with espionage and thus came to the Agency s notice by a roundabout route The three men were rescued against daunting odds by fate and by their families, and then all but forgotten Yet they laid bare the pathological mistrust that fueled the arms race for the next 30 years Drawing on new interviews conducted in the United States, Europe and Russia with key players in the exchange and the events leading to it, among them Frederic Pryor himself and the man who shot down Gary Powers, Bridge of Spies captures a time when the fate of the world really did depend on coded messages on microdots and brave young men in pressure suits The exchange that frigid day at two of the most sensitive points along the Iron Curtain represented the first step back from where the superpowers had stood since the building of the Berlin Wall the previous summer on the brink of World War III.
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Description: Bridge of Spies is the true story of three extraordinary characters – William Fisher, alias Rudolf Abel, a British born KGB agent arrested by the FBI in New York City and jailed as a Soviet superspy for trying to steal America’s most precious nuclear secrets; Gary Powers, the American U-2 pilot who was captured when his plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over the closed cities of central Russia; and Frederic Pryor, a young American graduate student in Berl [...]
This is the way history ought to be written! This incredibly researched book reads like a novel. The characters and events are combined to produce a moving history of the Cold War. As many have written in their review, I grew up during this time period, but was unaware of the fine details of the U-2 story. I highly recommend this book. You will captured by lives of these fascinating characters and educated about a time period that nearly brought the world to nuclear war. Don't miss this one. I o [...]
This is a very detailed look into what lead up to one of the most well known exchange of "spies" during the Cold War. Though Gary Powers worked for the CIA he was in reality anything but a spy. A U-2 pilot for sure, a spy not even close. Fisher, the man exchanged for Powers, was actually a spy. What is in question with Fisher is what, if any real information he transmitted back to his handlers in the almost 10 years he spent in America. I strongly suggest this book for anyone interested in this [...]
Fascinating, Insightful & Mesmerizing! A Powerful Read! I Loved It!
Good, straightforward telling of the famous Cold War spy exchange and the unlikely events that led up to it. It's funny reading this kind of thing after a lot of WWII spying stories--in that era there's so often something clearly at stake. In this time period the "Master Soviet Spy" is basically just hanging out in Brooklyn and painting. Still, it's great hearing about all the people involved, since everyone seems to be putting on fronts upon fronts.With the movie coming out I did find myself wo [...]
If you are looking for the book that mirrors the eponymous movie, this is not the book. The title you seek is "Stangers on a Bridge" by James Dinovan, the lawyer portrayed by Tom Hanks.This book is a product of exhaustive research written in a manner that sways between dry technical prose and awkward attempts to turn a phrase. I trudged halfway through it and finally gave up.
Although they share titles, this is not the book of Steven Spielberg's film despite the fact that they both deal with the same incident: the first spy exchange of the Cold War. On 10 February 1962, Rudolf Abel (as he gave his name) was exchanged for Francis Gary Powers, the two men walking past each other across the Glienicke Bridge on the outskirts of West Berlin as men on either side of the River Havel watched the silent passage through telescopic sights.Spielberg's film concentrates very much [...]
This is a remarkable tale; at times it seems unreal, at other times it is unbelievable but all along it is perfectly true. Three men are involved and they are dragged into the Cold War, two of them through a sense of duty, one almost purely by accident. And they all suffer the same fate - imprisonment. They did not know each other but once a deal was brokered to free them they all came together, two on the Glienicke Bridge and one at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin on 10 February 1962. Then suddenl [...]
This was an interesting book about the cold war, focussing on an exchange of prisoners between the US and USSR in 1962. The exchange involved two Americans, Francis Powers, the pilot from a U2 spy plane shot down over Russia, and Frederic Pryor, and American student who was not involved in spying but was unfortunate enough to cross into East Germany a few days after the Berlin Wall went up and be arrested by the Stasi, and Rudolf Abel, a Russian spy living in New York City and trolling for detai [...]
Although the Tom Hanks/Stephen Spielberg movie was apparently not based on this specific book, the book (2010) deals largely with the same event in history. It is a very engaging, well-researched work giving the reader a window into a specific period of the Cold War that young American readers can scarcely fathom now. It is an in-depth biography of U2 pilot Gary Powers, Soviet spy Rudolf Abel aka William Fisher, and Frederic Pryor, a wayward future American economist at the wrong place (Germany) [...]
Bridge of Spies is a fascinating look at the U2 flights over the Soviet Union in the 60s and mainly the story of Francis Gary Powers who flew one of those planes. The U2 aircraft was a flimsy affair and ostensibly a weather tracking craft. It was really a spy plane. Powers was one of a number of pilot/spies and was trained to fly higher than the plane was really equipped to do. Also, his flight suit was not as well crafted as it should have been for the plane or the altitude. The truth was none [...]
This book and subsequent movie is the story behind the trade of spies and alleged spies that were traded between Russia and the United States on a bridge connecting East and West Berlin in 1962. Most of the individuals are names long lost to history except for Gary Powers who was the U2 spy plane pilot that was shot down over Russia several years earlier. The book at times was tedious but has great detail about Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and insight to the fledgling CIA. This book reads l [...]
This would have been a lot better if it hadn't been disjointed and made me question the logic behind its structuring. It was also really, really aggravating that the author flip flopped with the names/aliases of the Russian spy seemingly without rhyme or reason. People would be mentioned in great detail for a section and then not mentioned for great lengths of time only to suddenly be key players and only referred to by their last name, prompting the question of "who??" and flipping pages back t [...]
William Fisher was a KGB agent who was caught in New York, Gary Powers was an American U-2 pilot shot down over Russia and Frederic Pryor was an American grad student detained in East Berlin. This is the story of their lives, the brinkmanship of the Cold War and how they came to be exchange for each other in the early 1960s. Why I started this book: Tom Hanks made this into a movie and I wanted to the read the book first.Why I finished it: This was kind of mess lots of build up; the last chapter [...]
Like most books it seems these days, I'd give a 3.5, but the system doesn't allow for that. Most of this book has to do with Gary Powers and the U-2, although there is some preliminary work on the spy whom, along with a graduate student happening to be put himself into the circumstances of Cold War Berlin, he was eventually exchanged for (a Russian who spent 8 years in the U.S.), which is mildly entertaining. The book gives a good overview of the U-2 flights; and the book definitely reaches its [...]
I read this in preparation for seeing the movie with Tom Hanks. Parts of it were interesting, but I'm not intrigued by the Cold War or spy stuff, so a lot of it was slow going for me.Plus, based on the trailer, it seems like only about two chapters are going to come into play in the movie. I only recommend it for people who are really fascinated by the Cold War and incidents that took place during it.
I'm into cold war stuff lately and this book contains a tremendous story all around. While the movie version concentrates on the hero attorney, James Donovan (Tom Hanks' character), and his relationship with the Russian spy, Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance's character), the book contains so much more - lots of characters, lots more history and well researched details.
Yes, well researched. Yes, pretty well written. But something is not right for me. I can't really describe what it is that I don't like. I tried but removed the description as I can't word it well. So if you are interested in the subject read for yourself.
A fun micro-narrative. Whittell perhaps succumbs to hindsight bias a few times too many, but he does a good job of tying the events of this book into the broader history of the Cold War in a way I hadn't before considered.
Very interesting subject, though certain parts confusing. Starts slowly - seems as though will be mostly about Fisher, the Russian spy, but it actually much more about Powers, the U2 pilot. Picks up towards middle for Powers failed mission and the aftermath.
- I can't praise "Bridge of Spies" enough. Better than any spy novel. 5-Stars!
This is an excellent book about spies in the Cold War and the inspiration for the 2015 film of the same title.
enjoyable, quick read. well told story and learned something new. doubt the movie does it justice.
An absolutely brilliant book, filled with understanding, passion and opinion. A very interesting read and worth getting for any Cold War enthusiasts!
Interesting but a bit boring I'm hoping the movie is better
The only part that was really interesting was the epilogue. The story was dragged out
A very well-researched and informative account of the Powers/Pryor exchange for the Soviet spy of many names, this book provides a thorough background of all the characters and events, correcting the historical record where post-Glasnost information has become available to researchers in the West. The film of the same name is a fact-based but fictional retelling of the final events of the book. The book concentrates on dense, factual descriptions of the U-2 spy plane program and its post-WWII hi [...]
First, let me explain my disappointment that this is NOT actually a book about a bridge. For all those civil engineering buffs out there, be warned.Rather than a guide to cantilevered spooks, this volume is a project of rehabilitation and re-calibration. As much as people believe they know about the early stages of the Cold War, or dimly recall Gary Powers, that knowledge was made obsolete by the passage of sixty years. This is was a period that included the end of the Soviet Union, massive decl [...]
The book is entirely different from the movie, most of all because the movie focuses on James Donovan and his relationship with his client Rudolf Abel. If that's the story you're interested in, you will probably want to read Donovan's book, Strangers on a Bridge, The Case of Colonel Abel. Whittell's focus is primarily on the prisoners who were exchanged on Glienicke Bridge and at Checkpoint Charlie (Abel, Powers, and Pryor) and only secondarily on all the other people involved in their stories. [...]
Vivid, utterly engaging and a wonderful insight into the tangled webs of spy lives. Worth reading for Whittell's clear yet no less informative writing style alone (and this was a complex world.) He unravels the true story of William Fisher, alias Rudolf Abel, a British born KGB agent arrested by the FBI in New York City and jailed as a Soviet superspy for trying to steal America’s most precious nuclear secrets; Gary Powers, the American U-2 pilot captured after his plane was downed during a re [...]
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