The Flannery O'Connor Library

St. Pius X Catholic High School


327.1273 FAV

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Spies : the secret showdown between America and Russia

Favreau, Marc, 1968-, author.

New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2019.

306 p.

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"An account of the Cold War spies whose survival depended on carefully orchestrated deceptions as they fought in the shadows to help avert global nuclear war and, in so doing, changed the global landscape in ways that are still felt today"-- Provided by publisher.



1 copy available at St. Pius X Catholic High School

Editorial Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly.
Favreau (Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America) weaves vivid, succinct accounts of the volatile U.S.-Soviet relationship into his tension-inducing spy stories, which range from the 1940s to the 1991 collapse of the U.S.S.R. While detailing the lead-up to a spy's mission in Moscow in 1981, for example, the prologue crisply summarizes how an official policy of deterrence became the excuse for ever-proliferating nuclear weapons. Favreau's succeeding chapters cover a well-chosen selection of spies, defectors, double agents, and moles, in the West and behind the Iron Curtain, illuminating each spy's motivations and the spy craft employed. Several cases raise complicated moral questions, and sections on Russian espionage and the CIA since 1991 bring the reader up to 2018; Favreau ominously concludes, "The lessons of the Cold War... suddenly shockingly relevant--a prologue, perhaps, to a new and ominous showdown between old enemies." Black-and-white photos and excellent supplemental material, including a Cold War timeline, glossaries of key espionage terms and techniques, a comprehensive list of sources, and further reading enhance the reader's understanding of this riveting, timely topic. Ages 12--up. (Oct.)■

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Review by School Library Journal.
Gr 8 Up--Favreau examines the Cold War with close-ups of specific spies (American and Russian) and their techniques, trials, and repercussions. Explanations of key events that led to the Cold War are easy to understand and are presented in chronological order, starting with the arms race. Photographs are used carefully at the beginning or end of chapters to put faces to the names being discussed. At times, the text reads almost like a thrilling gossip column for history buffs and those interested in the suspense of espionage, but at other times the names of people are hard to keep track of and the narrative becomes a little dry. Overall, Favreau's research is excellent; his previous works earned him a spot in the nonfiction canon for older students. The end of the book shares approachable synopses including a Cold War time line, glossaries for both the Cold War and key espionage techniques, and a notes section, as well as a primary sources list and a bibliography for further research. VERDICT An engaging work of narrative nonfiction that young history buffs and future CIA agents are sure to eat up.--Gretchen Schulz, Schaumburg Township District Library, IL

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Review by Booklist.
Though they were allies during WWII, tensions between the USSR and the U.S. quickly grew in its aftermath, driven largely by the development of nuclear weapons. As suspicion and fear grew between the two nations, two organizations dedicated to national security and the harvesting of information sprung up: the CIA in America and the KGB in Russia. Through profiles of spies on all sides of the conflict, acclaimed nonfiction author Favreau (Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America, 2018) unearths the human side of a long, secretive war. In four sections, he highlights key events (the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race) while returning, always, to the players, lingering over the stories of people like George Blake, an uncommonly skilled KGB agent, or Marti Peterson, the CIA's first female operative in Moscow. Neutral in his observations, Favreau offers up a measured, exquisitely researched slice of history. The text is beautifully sourced, and the back matter includes multiple glossaries, an extensive further reading list, key facts on the KGB and CIA, and brief overviews on espionage in Russia and the U.S. since the end of the Cold War. With chapters that often read like fiction, Favreau skillfully captures the tension of an era that, while it may seem bygone, has sent increasingly clear shockwaves into our world today. Buy for classrooms or for pleasure.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

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