By Giles Whittell
Who have been the 3 males the yankee and Soviet superpowers exchanged at Berlin's Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie within the first and such a lot mythical prisoner alternate among East and West? Bridge of Spies vividly strains their paths to that trade on February 10, 1962, while their destiny helped to outline the conflicts and deadly undercurrents of the main harmful years of the chilly War.
Bridge of Spies is the real tale of 3 striking characters – William Fisher, alias Rudolf Abel, a British born KGB agent arrested by means of the FBI in ny urban and jailed as a Soviet superspy for attempting to scouse borrow America’s most useful nuclear secrets and techniques; Gary Powers, the yankee U-2 pilot who was once captured whilst his aircraft used to be shot down whereas flying a reconnaissance undertaking over the closed towns of important Russia; and Frederic Pryor, a tender American graduate scholar in Berlin mistakenly pointed out as a secret agent, arrested and held for gratis by way of the Stasi, East Germany’s mystery police.
By weaving the 3 strands of this tale jointly for the 1st time, Giles Whittell masterfully portrays the serious political tensions and nuclear brinkmanship that introduced the us and Soviet Union so with reference to a sizzling struggle within the early Sixties. He finds the dramatic lives of fellows drawn into the nadir of the chilly warfare via responsibility and interest, and the tragicomedy of error that at last brought about Khrushchev to ship missiles to Castro. of his matters — the secret agent and the pilot — have been the unique seekers of guns of mass destruction. The 3rd, an highbrow, fluent in German, unencumbered via dependents, and studying a Ph.D. thesis at the overseas alternate process of the Soviet bloc, appeared to the Stasi exactly the kind of individual the CIA must have been recruiting. He used to be now not. In over his head on this planet capital of spying, he used to be wrongly charged with espionage and therefore got here to the Agency’s realize by way of a extra roundabout course. the 3 males have been rescued opposed to daunting odds by means of destiny and by means of their households, after which all yet forgotten. but they laid naked the pathological distrust that fueled the hands race for the subsequent 30 years.
Drawing on new interviews performed within the usa, Europe and Russia with key avid gamers within the trade and the occasions resulting in it, between them Frederic Pryor himself and the guy who shot down Gary Powers, Bridge of Spies captures a time whilst the destiny of the realm relatively did rely on coded messages on microdots and courageous younger males in strain matches. The trade that frigid day at of the main delicate issues alongside the Iron Curtain represented step one again from the place the superpowers had stood because the construction of the Berlin Wall the former summer season – near to global battle III.
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