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Stalin's Romeo Spy: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative
by Emil Draitser
foreword by Gary Kern
Northwestern University Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-0-8101-6439-0 | Cloth: 978-0-8101-2664-0
Library of Congress Classification JN6529.I6D73 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 327.12470092

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK


Sailor, painter, doctor, lawyer, polyglot, and writer, Dmitri Bystrolyotov


(1901–75) led a life that might seem far-fetched for a spy novel, yet here


the truth is stranger than fiction. The result of a thirty-five-year journey


that started with a private meeting between the author and Bystrolyotov


in 1973 Moscow and continued through the author’s subsequent


research in international archives, Stalin’s Romeo Spy: The Remarkable


Rise and Fall of the KGB’s Most Daring Operative pieces together a life lived


in the shadows of the twentieth century’s biggest events.


One of the “Great Illegals,” a team of outstanding Soviet spies operating


in Western countries between the world wars, Bystrolyotov was


the response to Sidney Reilly, the British prototype for James Bond.


A dashing man, his modus operandi was the seduction of women—


among them a French embassy employee, a German countess, the wife


of a British official, and a Gestapo officer—which enabled Stalin to look


into diplomatic pouches of many European countries. Risking his life,


Bystrolyotov also stole military secrets from Nazi Germany and Fascist


Italy. A man of extraordinary physical courage, he twice crossed the


Sahara Desert and the jungles of Congo.


But his success as a spy didn’t save him from Stalin’s purges, at the


height of which he was arrested and tortured until he falsely confessed


to selling out to the enemy. Sentenced to twenty years of hard labor in


the Gulag, Bystrolyotov risked more severe punishment by documenting


the regime’s crimes against humanity in unpublished and suppressed


memoirs that rival those of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


The first full-length biography in any language, at once a real-life


spy thriller, a drama of desire, and a prison memoir, Stalin’s Romeo Spy


is the true account of a flawed yet extraordinary man.




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