Earley, Pete. Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War. New York: Putnam's, 2008.
Tretyakov died 13 June 2010 at his home in Florida. See T. Rees Shapiro, "Sergei Tretyakov Dies; Former Russian Spy Defected to U.S. in 2000," Washington Post, 10 Jul. 2010, B4.
Wise, Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2008, notes that Comrade J is SVR Col. Sergei Tretyakov, who was the deputy rezident (station chief) in New York when he defected in 2000. The reviewer does not care much for some of Tretyakov's accusations against Western politicians, but finds that "[t]he real value of [his] saga lies less in his scattershot claims and innuendoes than in his sharp eye and gossipy insider's view of the KGB/SVR's training, methods, foibles and tricks."
For Goulden, Washington Times, 20 Jan. 2008, this is "an unsettling book." However, "[s]py buffs will love Tretyakov's gossipy accounts of National Enquirer-style sexual and alcohol misbehavior in KGB and SVR offices." Ransom, NIPQ 24.2 (Apr. 2008), comments that the author "covers a great deal of ground, sometimes roaming without any specific destination."
Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), wishes there were more details on Tretyakov's work for the FBI in the three years before his defection. This book is in essence an unsourced defector memoir, and that raises "the question of accuracy." Nevertheless, "Earley has provided another well told espionage case study." While lamenting its lack of an index, West, IJI&C 21.4 (Winter 2008-2009), still finds the book to be "important, not so much because it contains sensational disclosures -- which it does not -- but more for what it reveals about the daily grind of life in the New York rezidentura."
Earley, Pete. Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames. New York: Putnam's, 1997.
According to Lehmann-Haupt, NYT (24 Feb. 1997), Earley's account presents Ames as highly competent, trusted, and clever; however, "this interpretation doesn't fit the facts as he relates them." Additionally, this account "does not substantially improve" on the picture that emerged from the four previous books on Ames. What is new here is that Earley has interspersed his third-person narrative with comments from Ames himself. Unfortunately, "these don't shed very much light on the case.... Ames ... stands revealed as an example of a quintessential 20th-century figure, the self-analytical man who doesn't understand himself at all."
Kurkjian, Boston Globe (27 Feb. 1997), sees the book differently. In his view, none of the earlier books on Ames "captures the story -- its drama, its consequences in human and diplomatic terms, and the troubling questions it presents about CIA operations -- the way Pete Earley's does.... Not only does he present the scope of Ames's double-dealing,... he also reveals the psychology of the man who would betray his country, his colleagues, and the Soviet agents.... Earley treads the thin line of providing some understanding of Ames without sympathizing with him."
Peake, CIRA Newsletter 22.2, finds that the book "is well written and covers the case more thoroughly than its competition.... Given the choice of one of the five books, Confessions of a Spy must be the one." Chambers notes that Earley "looks at both sides of the case, Ames and the KGB on one side, and the CIA on the other.... [He] has written a highly readable book that fills in some of the gaps in the story of Ames."
Earley, Pete. Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
Chambers says that this is "[p]erhaps the best of the bunch" of books on the Walker spy ring. Hunter, Spy Hunter (1999), p. 210, agrees with this judgment, calling Earley's "the most accurate of the books published on this case." Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), calls Earley's "by far the best treatment of the case."
Earley, Pete. "Interview with the Spy Master." Washington Post Magazine, 23 Apr. 1995, 18-21, 28-29.
Boris Aleksandrovich Solomatin.
Earley, Pete. "'Treason?' He Repeats the Word Out Loud as if He Is Shocked by It." U.S. News and World Report, 17 Feb. 1997, 29-35.
Interview with Aldrich Ames.
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