The suspenseful, eye-opening memoir of a Soviet spy who came in from the cold. Writing in the third person, Sheymov offers a riveting account of his upwardly mobile career with the KGB and the factors that led him to defect to the West in 1980. In 1969, after graduating with an engineering degreee from Moscow's prestigious Technical University, the author joined a Defense Ministry institute that was researching military uses of space. Recruited by the state's intelligence service in 1971, at age 25, Sheymov eventually became the Eighth Chief Directorate's principal troubleshooter. In this sensitive capacity, he traveled far afield, ensuring the security of enciphered KGB communications throughout the world: During one sojourn, for example, he was able to figure out how the technologically backward Chinese had managed to eavesdrop on the USSR's Beijing embassy. Along the way, the author also learned about his agency's penetration of the Russian Orthodox Church, its role in the plot to assassinate Pope John-Paul II, and its involvement in other unsavory projects. But the higher Sheymov climbed, the more disillusioned he became with Communism and the Kremlin elite's corruption. Resolved to inflict as much damage as he could on the system, the author, while on a Warsaw assignment, evaded his minder and made contact with the CIA. The latter third of the narrative provides a detailed briefing on how Sheymov's knowledge of KGB tradecraft, as well as the professionalism of US operatives, allowed him to slip across two closely guarded borders into Austria with his wife and young daughter. The exfiltration was so skillfully executed that the author's erstwhile masters long believed that he and his family were dead. While the story ends abruptly with Sheymov's escorted arrival in N.Y.C., it seems likely that the information he subsequently furnished American officials hastened the cold war's end. A top-level insider's dramatic, stranger-than-fiction disclosures in the great game of espionage. (Maps and photographs- -not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55750-764-3

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Naval Institute Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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