February 19, 2010 Book Detailing Stalin-Era Records of Soviet Intelligence to Be Discussed

Unique Access to KBG Files Results in New Historical Account

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

“Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America” (Yale University Press, 2009) is the fascinating and sometimes shocking story of the activities of the KGB in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. Author John Haynes (who co-wrote “Spies” with Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev) will discuss and sign his work on Tuesday, March 2, at noon in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The event, co-sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division in the Library of Congress, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. John Haynes is a historian in the Manuscript Division.

This notable book, based on KGB archives that have never before come to light, provides the most complete account of Soviet espionage in America ever written. In 1993 former KGB officer Alexander Vassiliev was permitted unique access to Stalin-era records of Soviet intelligence operations against the U.S. Years later, living in Britain, Vassiliev retrieved his extensive notebooks of transcribed documents from Moscow. With these notebooks, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr have meticulously constructed a new historical account.

Along with general insights into espionage tactics and the motives of Americans who spied for Stalin, “Spies” resolves specific, long-seething controversies. The book confirms, among many other things, that Alger Hiss cooperated with Soviet intelligence over a long period of years, that journalist I.F. Stone worked on behalf of the KGB in the 1930s and that atomic scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer was never recruited by Soviet intelligence. “Spies” also uncovers numerous American spies who were never under suspicion and identifies the last unaccounted-for American nuclear spies. Vassiliev tells the story of the notebooks and his own extraordinary life in a gripping introduction to the volume.

Following his presentation, which is part of the Books & Beyond author series of the Center for the Book, Haynes will sign his work.

Haynes’s book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. The site offers discussions of books by authors who have appeared, or will appear, in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new Read.gov website, with its exclusive “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” serialized story.


PR 10-037
ISSN 0731-3527