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3 thoughts on “Moscow Memoir

  1. Joseph Guido Joseph Guido says:

    James Holbrook’s stunning first person account of his time as an Assistant Army Attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow at the height of the Cold War is a must read for anyone who is to serve in a US diplomatic mission or anyone interested in what living behind the Iron Curtain as a Cold Warrior was actually like His deeply personal and introspective narrative which could use much refinement courageously outlines his successesand failuresas an expert Russophile and Sovietologist as well as talented new Military Attaché serving abroad His story should serve as both a warning as well as reminder about the techniues used to exploit vulnerabilities and weakness in diplomatic service While Holbrook does not know if it was the KGB or GRU which entrapped him through a classic rendition of the infamous “honey trap” Holbrook’s self reflection on the events leading to this life changing event as well as confronting its conseuences should be mandatory reading for all Foreign Area Officers Importantly this autobiography alludes to the resurgence of these types of activities in no small measure by the prominence of the most famous veteran of the Soviet Intelligence Service today Vladimir Putin Using a variety of sources to include his own declassified Intelligence Reports Holbrook paints a stark picture of life as a diplomat in the Soviet Union harkening to the words of the Russian Prime Minister of Russia in 1903 1906 Sergei Witte “In truth what is it that has essentially upheld Russian statehoodOnly the power of the bayonet The world bowed not to our culture nor to our bureaucratized church nor to our wealth and prosperity It bowed to our might” Those words like Holbrook’s tale have meaning and significance for the democratic world today


  2. David David says:

    Excellent personal account of one Attaché’s experience in USSR’s Moscowwhat I liked The immense amount of reference and noted supporting material for the author’s observations Author keeps a very engaging and conversational toneWhat I disliked Lack of full exploration of the author’s experiences related to current events and international relationship The author makes some shallow allusions to parallels that exist but deprives the reader of entering fully into his viewpoint and understood implications


  3. Matthew Kuhlman Matthew Kuhlman says:

    An interesting and eye opening look at the challenges and routines that military attaches face These challenges were only exacerbated by the country inwhich the author served the Soviet Union and the era he was assigned there 1979 81


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Moscow Memoir [Download] ➵ Moscow Memoir By James R. Holbrook – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk This memoir portrays the ups and downs in the life and work of an American military attach in the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1981 The Iranian hostage crisis the failed attempt to rescue those hostages This memoir portrays the ups and downs in the life and work of an American military attach in the Soviet Union from to The Iranian hostage crisis the failed attempt to rescue those hostages the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the American led boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics all occurred during this period Holbrooks Moscow assignment coincided with some of these low points in the Cold WarThe author describes both the stark living conditions in Moscow and based partly on his reports from Moscow that the Defense Intelligence Agency declassified takes the reader on information collection trips to various cities in the Soviet Union That travel was in itself an adventureonce his wife and he were forced to sleep in a provincial train station The KGB freuently tampered with his auto and personal possessionsThe authors job was to observe and report military activity that had an impact on Soviet political military affairs After his earlier assignment with the US Military Liaison Mission attached to Soviet Army Headuarters in East Germany where military observation was relatively easy the author became frustrated at the meager opportunities to gather useful military information in the USSR Conseuently he became aggressive in his collection efforts He began traveling or less incognito about Moscow City making civilian acuaintances and blending into Soviet social gatherings with his language and cultural skills He began to take risks some of which paid dividendsOverconfidence however led to an incident in Rovno Ukraine There the KGB set up an entrapment and a Soviet intelligence officer whom the author had known in East Germany attempted to recruit him as a spyThis memoir immerses the reader in an increasingly forgotten Cold War environment that unfortunately may once again be on the horizon of US Russian relations.