Cover image for Mortal crimes : the greatest theft in history : Soviet penetration of the Manhattan Project
Mortal crimes : the greatest theft in history : Soviet penetration of the Manhattan Project
West, Nigel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Enigma Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxii, 275 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E743.5 .W47 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Author Notes

Nigel West is a former officer of the British secret intelligence service, MI6, and conservative party member of the British Parliament. He has written extensively on espionage and counterintelligence and given numerous lectures on those subjects.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

West, a prolific writer on pre- and post-WWII espionage, delivers an in-depth work, this time on Soviet efforts to acquire secrets about the Allies' efforts to develop the atomic bomb. Using recently declassified information from Soviet archives as well as from FBI, CIA and NSA files in the U.S., West assembles pieces of "one of the most significant intricate jigsaw puzzles in history," showing a full story of atomic espionage in America. The cornerstone of his work rests on the Venona files, declassified by the U.S. in the 1990s, which provided a new and entirely authentic list of code names of British and American spies for the Soviet Union. Although West previously wrote about these files in Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War, this new work far from rehashes old information. West puts Venona at the center of a much larger portrait of the key successes and failures of British, American and Canadian espionage units. One of the best sections details not only how the FBI was slow to grasp the scale of Soviet espionage on the West Coast, but also how military authorities were to blame for not sharing secrets, such as not even telling J. Edgar Hoover the purpose of Los Alamos. Overall, West's book makes an important contribution to espionage studies by showing the extent to which Stalin was able to use willing accomplices in the West to provide him with Manhattan Project secrets and help the Soviets develop their own A-bomb. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A blizzard of books has accompanied the opening of the Soviet archives and the declassification of the Soviet espionage activity represented by the publication of the VENONA files. West, who has written extensively on British intelligence and who wrote his own account of VENONA in 1999, offers a detailed chronicle of how the Soviets obtained information to make their atomic bomb. Although the Rosenbergs were executed, and Klaus Fuchs and numerous others were sent to jail, the full extent of Soviet spying was only guessed at until the VENONA files. West laboriously reconstructs the complex espionage network created by Stalin's intelligence service in the United States, beginning in the late 1930s and continuing through World War II. It is a remarkable story, filled with an almost endless cast of shadowy characters using false names and communicating in a cryptic language that has taken years for investigators to decipher (the true identity of some spies will never be known). This is another case of reality being far stranger-and more amazing-than fiction; for most collections.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
I The Frisch-Peierls Memorandump. 1
II Anglo-American Cooperationp. 25
III Beria's XY Solutionp. 43
IV Chalk River, Oak Ridge and Hanfordp. 81
V Penetrating Los Alamosp. 84
VI The XY Rezidenturap. 102
VII Venona Part 1 Theodore Hall and Klaus Fuchsp. 116
VIII Venona Part 2 The Rosenberg Networkp. 139
IX Venona Part 3 The Pers Mysteryp. 161
X Venona Part 4 Oppenheimer and the Othersp. 180
XI Nobel Espionagep. 227
XII The Canadian Connectionp. 232
Conclusionp. 245
Appendicesp. 249
Notesp. 256
Bibliographyp. 261
Indexp. 265