As chief archivist of the KGB's foreign branch, Vasili Mitrokhin had virtually unfettered access to its most closely held secrets. But his government's relentless repression of dissidents at home and abroad and its bungled Afghan war policy disillusioned him. Determined to preserve the truth, Mitrokhin secretly compiled a detailed record of the feared agency's operations abroad.
Written with historian Christopher Andrew and backed with meticulous supporting research, what emerges is a chilling chronicle of murder and treachery, slander and corruption, paranoia and purges. KGB placed agents high within British intelligence agencies and American defense contractors; yet they failed to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, Senator Scoop Jackson or President Ronald Reagan. And their massive information gathering brought them no international advantages; to the end Soviet officials remained baffled by the West. The Sword and the Shield is a compelling–and historically significant–narrative destined to cast new light on the Soviet era.