Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient
University Press of America


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By Edward Alexander

In West Berlin in 1963, while on his first diplomatic assignment, the author was contacted by a Soviet Armenian KGB agent. For fifteen months Alexander and the KGB agent met on both sides of the Berlin Wall. Attempting to play on Alexander's sympathy to his Armenian heritage, the KGB made a series of unsuccessful attempts to lure the author to Soviet Armenia and recruit him to work for the Soviet Union.

After Berlin, the KGB's interest in Alexander continued. Over the years he was contacted by many Armenian agents when he traveled on official business to the Soviet Union and spent five days in Soviet Armenia; in Washington, where the KGB agent from Berlin surprisingly appeared and sought to absolve himself of blame for the earlier approach; during later trips to Moscow; again, in Washington by KGB agents assigned to the Soviet Embassy and at TASS; and in Greece. Fifteen years after the first contact, Alexander had a dramatic confrontation with the original KGB officer.

The story is told against a backdrop of Soviet-American tensions and events ranging from the Kennedy visit to Berlin and his assassination five months later to the murder of the CIA station chief in Athens by Greek terrorists.

In describing this ethnic pursuit of the author, this book provides a behind-the-scenes look at U.S.-Soviet relations, foreign service life, and the problems faced by KGB agents and their families, as well as an in-depth portrait of post-Stalin Armenia, where creative spirits are seeking to perpetuate an ancient culture despite the pressures of totalitarian control.

University Press of America (1990)