A creative genius and prolific inventor, Leon Theremin almost single-handedly launched the field of electronic music in 1920. The theremin--the only musical instrument that is played without being touched--created a sensation worldwide and paved the way for the modern synthesizer. But the otherworldly sound that entranced millions was only part of Theremin's epic life.
As a Soviet scientist, Theremin surrendered his life and work to the service of State espionage. On assignment in Depression-era America, he worked the engines of capitalist commerce while passing data on US industrial technology to the Soviet apparat. Following his sudden disappearance in 1938, Theremin vanished into the top-secret Soviet intelligence machine and was presumed dead for nearly thirty years. Using the same technology that spawned the theremin, he designed bugging devices and a host of other electronic wonders, including an early television and multimedia devices that anticipated performance art and virtual reality by decades.
Albert Glinsky's biography places the inventor at world events stretching from the Russian Revolution through the Cold War to perestroika. Throughout, he spins whimsy and treachery into an astonishing drama of one man's hidden loyalties, mixed motivations, and irrepressibly creative spirit.