Schecter, Jerrold L., and Peter S. Deriabin. The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War. New York: Scribner's, 1992. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1995. [pb]

Clark comment: Ignore the title, but read the book. It is unlikely that Penkovsky's story will be better told any time in the near future. Despite the numerous quotations from Penkovsky's interviews with his U.S. and British case officers (he met with them 42 times), the authors present their text in a readable fashion. No, the question of how the Soviets originally got onto Penkovsky is not resolved; but most other aspects of Penkovsky the spy are given clear exposition, and the reader gets a closer feel for Penkovsky the man.

Peake, FILS 11.6, calls this "the best study of the Penkovsky case that ... is likely to appear." The authors "combine expertise and skillful writing and analysis with well documented case details." The Spy Who Saved the World "will become a classic." This view is similarly expressed by Allen, DIJ 1.2: "[T]his highly readable book appears to be the best on the subject to date."

According to Scott, I&NS 8.4, this "fascinating book about a fascinating subject ... [is] based on documentary evidence," but the authors "do not substantiate their very bold assertion that it was Penkovsky's intelligence that was decisive in the Kennedy administration's policy-making.... [O]ne area where the material ... is most illuminating is on Penkovsky's motives and his character."

Evans, IJI&C 7.2, recommends this "comprehensive account ... for history students, intelligence buffs, and people who earn their keep coping ... with espionage agents." The reviewer has two reservations: "the title misleads, and the contents slight the worth of a parallel operation.... The parallel operation consisted of American overhead reconnaissance flights photographing Soviet missile installations."

To Bates, NIPQ 9.2, the book is "well worth your time." Cram calls it "one of the great yarns of modern intelligence literature"; Penkovsky's "heroic story could not be better told." Similarly, Powers, NYRB (13 May 1993) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 295-320, sees the book as "a virtually unique study of an agent and his handling, but the title is hyperbole all the same.... The Spy Who Saved the World is one of best intelligence books in recent years, filled with surprises."

Richard Helms, with William Hood, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003), 219/fn., says that "[t]his excellent book gives an informed, inside view of the entire Penkovsky operation."


Schecter, Jerrold L. and Leona Schecter. Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2002.

According to Goulden, AFIO WIN 35-02, 2 Sep. 2002, the authors believe that the activities of Soviet intelligence agents certainly affected U.S. policy and changed U.S. history. Their effort to document that viewpoint makes Sacred Secrets "an important contribution to intelligence literature." In addition, "their analysis of VENONA is the best yet published." Bath. NIPQ 19.4, sees Sacred Secrets as a "well-researched view of some of the murkier aspects of Cold War espionage." Although he is "not sure" that he agrees "with all their conclusions," the reviewer finds that "they make a plausible case."

Holmes, Library Journal, Jul. 2002, finds that Sacred Secrets "is a touch oversold.... While it adds some details to the historical literature, little new ground is actually broken.... [I]t is less a path-breaking work than an incremental addition to the Cold War literature." For Haynes, I&NS 17.4, the absence of an explanation of how the authors obtained Soviet intelligence documents opens the door for doubters to reject them but, for his part, he is willing to "accept[] them as authentic." Although "[a]n inattention to detail has allowed minor errors to creep into the text..., students of Soviet espionage ... would be foolish to ignore" this book.

See also, Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, "Special Tasks and Sacred Secrets on Soviet Atomic Spies," Intelligence and National Security 26.5 (Oct. 2011): 656-675: "In regard to Soviet atomic espionage Special Tasks and Sacred Secrets are neither reliable nor credible."

[Russia/SovSpies/Gen; SpyCases/U.S./Bomb/Gen & Venona]

Scheips, Paul J., ed. Military Signal Communications. 2 vols. New York: Arno Press, 1980. [Petersen]


Schellenberg, Walter. The Labyrinth: The Memoirs of Walter Schellenberg, Hitler's Chief of Counterintelligence. New York: Harper, 1956. The Schellenberg Memoirs: A Record of Nazi Secret Service.Trans., Louis Hagen. London: André Deutsch, 1956. New York: Pyramid, 1958. [Abridged pb.] New York: Da Capo, 2000. [pb]

According to Pforzheimer, "Schellenberg headed the foreign intelligence department of the Sicherheitsdienst of the Nazi party's Security Administration," and in 1944 assumed control of the Abwehr as well. "In the light of later facts, this book should be read with caution." Mader, Military Intelligence 30.2 (Apr.-Jun. 2004), notes that Schellenberg concludes that the failures of Nazi intelligence in Word War II were "not due to a lack of ability but rather to a lack of historical integration of intelligence into the command structure."

Constantinides suggests that it would be wise to heed the warnings about this book included in Alan Bullock's introduction. Bullock cautioned that "it would be wise not to accept Schellenberg as a trustworthy witness of events unless there is corroboration." There are inaccuracies, significant omissions, and gaps. See also, Doerries, Hitler's Intelligence Chief (2009); and Doerries, ed., Hitler’s Last Chief of Foreign Intelligence: Allied Interrogations of Walter Schellenberg (2003).

[Russia/WWII/Sorge; WWII/Eur/Ger]

Schemmer, Benjamin F. The Raid. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. New York: Avon, 1986. [pb] The Raid: The Son Tay Prison Rescue Mission. New York: Ballantine, 2002. [pb]


Schemmer, Benjamin F., and John T. Carney, Jr. [COL/USAF (Ret.)] No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran to Afghanistan. New York: Ballantine, 2002. [pb] Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 2003.

According to Gatlin, Proceedings 129.1 (Jan. 2003), the authors trace the development of the Air Force's Special Tactics Unit from its beginning in 1977 to "its integral role in Afghanistan.... The accounts of ... activities in Grenada, Panama, and Somalia often are riveting.... Regrettably,... [t]here is no formal description of how Special Tactics operators do their jobs, how they are selected and trained, or ... why [they] are, or should be, used in some operations while in others Delta Force, Ranger, SEAL, or other special forces operators call in their own air strikes."

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), notes that co-author Carney helped create the Air Force's "Special Tactics Units" and was involved in both the Desert One hostage rescue mission and the assault on Grenada. The book provides "an interesting, though subjective, firsthand account of a mode of warfare that has had a crucial impact on military order of battle." For Fontenot, Parameters 34.3, this is "a well-told story focused on colorful and interesting people who do very dangerous and meaningful work." It "is a compelling story that drives home the difficulty of special operations and the special qualities of those who commit themselves to that kind of service."

[GenPostwar/80s/Iran; MI/AF/SpecOps; MI/SpecOps/00s]

Schemmer, Benjamin F., and John T. Carney, Jr. [COL/USAF (Ret.)], eds. U.S. Special Operations Forces. Westport, CT: Hugh Lauter Levin, 2003.

Seamon, Proceedings 130.1 (Jan. 2004), comments that this volume looks and feels like a "coffee-table book," but it goes beyond that sterotype. "Its contents ... qualify it as an up-to-date history of ... U.S. servicemen who have fought under a variety of commands since the French and Indian War.... Excellent essays cover just about every phase of U.S. warfare.... Strangely, World War I is all but forgotten and the U.S. Marines are barely mentioned."


Scherer, F.M. "Horst Hesse: A Cold War Military Intelligence Mole." Intelligence and National Sceurity 21, no. 2 (Apr. 2006): 224-236.

From abstract: "[T]his article presents the story of Horst Hesse's penetration as a double agent" into the U.S. 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion "in Würzburg, Germany during 1955 and 1956."


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