A review of the major spy cases of the early Cold War.
The past decade has witnessed a plethora of books about Cold War spying, with no break in sight. The writing team of Haynes (manuscript division, Library of Congress) and Klehr (politics & history, Emory Univ.) has contributed to the publishing with their important The Secret World of American Communism and Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. This time, they focus on the numerous spy trials that occupied the American public's attention during the late 1940s and 1950s. In addition to the most famous cases, such as those relating to Alger Hiss and Klaus Fuchs, they discuss less prominent cases that came to light during FBI investigations, e.g., those of the well-connected Elizabeth Bentley, who ended up naming many of her fellow accomplices, and the wily Judith Coplon, who ultimately escaped conviction. Haynes and Klehr offer valuable insights into how these public trials revealed the difficulties American authorities had in prosecuting spies within the legal limitations imposed by a democratic system based on the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. How these Soviet spies were, for the most part, caught and convicted through our judicial processes is an enthralling story. For most collections. Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.