The steadily interesting and persuasive autobiography of the highest-level Russian ever to defect from the KGB. Levchenko's...

READ REVIEW

ON THE WRONG SIDE: My Life in the KGB

The steadily interesting and persuasive autobiography of the highest-level Russian ever to defect from the KGB. Levchenko's story seems strange in its not-so-simple humanity. Here is a closet Christian in the secret police force of a nation whose State creed is atheism, and who finds that there must be a better way of life than Communism by observing the cultural riches of the Japanese upon whom he is spying. Born in Moscow during WW II, Levchenko is warned early by his father that monsters like postwar NKVD chief Beria are undermining the state. Young Stanislav, an idealist, marries early, has a son, and resists all overtures from the various informant groups. A scholar of Japanese at the Institute for Oriental Studies, he is later sucked into spy-groups of the Party's International Department and is appointed deputy secretary of the party cell of the Soviet journalists stationed in Japan. Then the KGB's First Chief Directorate traps him into becoming a master spy, helping the USSR ship out tons of poorly kept Japanese scientific, industrial, and military secrets. Years pass. Constantly stabbing the Japanese in the back in his role as a KGB officer, his soul is twisted. Then, at the age of 37, he awakes to the fact that he is on the wrong side, despite his love for Mother Russia. He reasons that his wife, whom he knows would never be a traitor, and his son will be safe if he defects, and he requests asylum at the US embassy. Even in disguise, his subsequent Christian life in the States has not been all beer and French fries, but he has devoted himself to awakening Western minds to the insidious nature of the KGB. Meanwhile, his wife and son have suffered terribly, while he believes himself marked for assassination. A thoughtful, brave book as a mild leopard literally changes his spots.

Pub Date: March 20, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pergamon-Brassey--dist. by Kampmann (9 East 40 St., New York, NY 10016)

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988