The Man Behind the Rosenbergs

* A first-hand account by one of the key players in the Cold War *Provides definitive answers about the Rosenberg case *Reveals sensitive information about the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union 'Revelatory and sensational!' - New York Times 'Feklisov's memoir adds signicant new details to the seemingly interminable argument about the espionage activities of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg' - New Republic In 1953, sequestered in New York's infamous Sing Sing prison, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg became the only American civilians to be executed for spying during the Cold War. Theirs had become a universal cause celebre, with the sentencing judge, Irving Kaufman, declaring in his summing up:'...who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason.' Alexander Feklisov was the Rosenbergs'handler. A KGB officer from 1939 until 1974, he continued to work for Soviet Intelligence until 1986, and here is his extraordinary memoir. (That the SVR, the current Russian Intelligence agency, was opposed to its publicataion is eloquent testimony to the book's importance.) In 1943, Feklisov began to cultivate and run his own spies. While he was, at one point, managing thirteen agents, none of them surpassed Julius Rosenberg in significance. One story tells of how Rosenberg presented Feklisov with a proximity fuse- a device that exploded automatically when in the vicinity of an aeroplane - in a gift-wrapped box. Feklisov claims the same kind of fuse enabled the shooting down of Francis Gary Powers's spy plane in 1962. Here, in a fascinating collage of anecdotes and revelations, Feklisov recounts his experiences of spy-handling in New York and, later, England, where he became the contact for another celebrated agent, the nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs. The last section of the book deals with his identity as'Alexander Fomin', the KGB Resident in Washington, DC, who acted as intermediary between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khruschev, thus helping to resolve the Cuban missile crisis.