An American reporter of Russian history assigned to Soviet-era Moscow might sound to have an side on his colleagues, but if he’s falsely accused of spying, any virtue fast evaporates. . . . .
As a tender UPI correspondent in Moscow in the course of the early Sixties, Nicholas Daniloff was hoping to jump-start his profession in his father’s place of birth, yet he quickly discovered that the chilly conflict had its personal ideas of engagement. during this riveting memoir, he describes the truth of journalism at the back of the Iron Curtain: how Western journalists banded jointly to thwart Soviet propagandists, how their “official assets” have been in general managed by means of the KGB—and how these resources could occasionally attempt to flip newsmen into collaborators.
Leaving Moscow for Washington in 1965, Daniloff honed his talents on the kingdom division, then back to Moscow in 1981 to discover a extra open society. but if the FBI nabbed a Soviet agent in 1986, Daniloff used to be arrested in retaliation and thrown into felony as a spy—an incident that threatened to undo the Reykjavik summit until eventually most sensible aides to Reagan and Gorbachev labored out a solution.
In addition to recounting a occupation within the thick of overseas intrigue, Of Spies and Spokesmen is brimming with within information regarding old occasions. Daniloff tells how the scoop media performed an important function in resolving the Cuban Missile concern, remembers the emotional influence of the JFK assassination on Soviet management, and describes the behind-the-scenes struggles that catapulted Mikhail Gorbachev to strength. He even stocks proof now not informed to the general public: how the SAC could warn Moscow that its submarines have been too with regards to American beaches, why the Soviets shot down the KAL airliner with no visible identity, and the way American journalists in Moscow occasionally did risky favors for our executive that can simply were fallacious for espionage.
Daniloff sheds mild not just on well-known figures comparable to Nikita Khrushchev and Henry Kissinger but additionally on suspected spies Frederick Barghoorn, John Downey, and ABC correspondent Sam Jaffe—unfairly branded a Soviet agent through the FBI. additionally, he assesses the functionality of Henry Shapiro, dean of yankee newshounds in Moscow, whose 40 years within the adversary’s capital frequently galvanize questions on his function and reputation.
In describing how the Western press functioned within the outdated Soviet Union—and the way it nonetheless features in Washington today—Daniloff indicates that the Soviet Russia he got here to grasp was once way more advanced than the “evil empire” painted by means of Ronald Reagan: an internet of propaganda and manipulation, to ensure, but additionally a spot of hospitality and friendship. And with Russia nonetheless discovering its means towards a brand new social and political order, he reminds us that seventy years of Communist rule left a deep influence on its nationwide psyche. As readable because it is eye-opening, Of Spies and Spokesmenprovides a brand new examine that country’s heritage—and on the perform of journalism in instances of crisis.