The Man Without A Face

The Man Without A Face

The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster

Book - 1997
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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.
Publisher: New York : Times Books, c1997.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780812963946
0812963946
Branch Call Number: B/WOLF
Characteristics: xii, 367 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: McElvoy, Anne 1965-

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bwinlr
Sep 17, 2017

This is an interesting and surprising read. For fans of John LeCarré's espionage fiction, Markus Wolf was rumored to be the model for the fictional figure, Karla, i.e., the head of foreign intelligence at Moscow Centre and George Smiley's nemesis. Wolf was the head of foreign intelligence at the State Security apparatus in East Germany (DDR) before its collapse.

You won't find a great deal of gripping espionage scenes in the book, because Wolf was too professional to indulge in melodrama. What you might find interesting is his last chapter looking back at intelligence services in the East and West, and his realistic appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses.

I always wondered how intelligent men, such as Wolf, could devote their lives to the service of authoritarian, harshly oppressive states. This book answered my question. Wolf was a believer in a utopian version of Communism, as had his parents. He believed that Marx and Engels had developed a theory of a truly better world in which liberty, equality and fraternity of men actually could exist, and he was appalled by the abuses of power by Stalin and others. And, yet, he continued to serve those governments in hopes that his dream would come to fruition one day. Of course, it didn't.

Wolf was a highly intelligent man, an optimist and a utopian. He died in 2006 in Berlin. His thoughts are definitely worth reading and thinking about.

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