Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster

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9780812963946: Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster

n this fascinating and revealing autobiography, Markus Wolf, East Germany's chief foreign intelligence officer and foremost spymaster of the Eastern Bloc, tells his own dramatic story, a true thriller and a stunning examination of loyalty, betrayal, and the long shadow of history. of photos.

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Review:

Imagine if Heinrich Himmler or Lavrenti Beria had written an autobiography! Well, a secret police chief of even greater prowess (and even greater secrecy) has done just that. For 34 years--through almost the whole of the Cold War--Markus Wolf was the head of East Germany's foreign intelligence service. As such, he gathered and disseminated to his Soviet sponsors many of the deepest top secrets of the whole era. A good example of the mirrors-within-mirrors nature of Wolf's world is his description of his service's interactions with celebrated terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Wolf relates that whenever Carlos came to East Berlin, the spymaster's main concern was "getting him out of the country as soon as possible." But this proved difficult because well, Carlos was a terrorist not above turning on his hosts. Indeed, Wolf reveals that while Carlos was a guest of his government, he made threats against East Germany's Paris embassy and that the reaction was not to expel him, but to beef up embassy security. Similarly, Wolf tells how the 1986 La Belle disco bombing in West Berlin, which killed two U.S. soldiers and resulted in a U.S. reprisal air strike against Libya, involved East Germany's knowing admission through border control of Libyan diplomats with explosives in their luggage. Here, Wolf questions the notion that such terrorists were worth coddling for their usefulness in any all-out war against the West. You have to wonder if he also did so in his old job.

About the Author:

Markus Wolf was the head of East Germany's Foreign Intelligence Service. Born in rural Western Germany in 1923, Wolf fled from the Nazis to the Soviet Union. He came of age in Moscow in the 1940s and was picked out by the Party to be returned to the war-ravaged Germany for its political restructuring. Wolf quickly rose through the ranks of East Germany's foreign intelligence operations. He left the Stasi in 1986, three years before its collapse. He passed away in 2006.

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