During the Cold War, stories of espionage became popular on both sides of the Iron Curtain, capturing the imagination of readers and filmgoers alike as secret police quietly engaged in surveillance under the shroud of impenetrable secrecy. And curiously, in the post–Cold War period there are no signs of this enthusiasm diminishing.
The opening of secret police archives in many Eastern European countries has provided the opportunity to excavate and narrate for the first time forgotten spy stories. Cold War Spy Stories from Eastern Europe brings together a wide range of accounts compiled from the East German Stasi, the Romanian Securitate, and the Ukrainian KGB files. The stories are a complex amalgam of fact and fiction, history and imagination, past and present. These stories of collusion and complicity, betrayal and treason, right and wrong, and good and evil cast surprising new light on the question of Cold War certainties and divides. Purchase the audio edition.
About the Author
Valentina Glajar is a professor of German and an honorary professor of international studies at Texas State University, San Marcos. She is the coeditor of Herta Müller: Politics and Aesthetics (Nebraska, 2013) and co-translator of Herta Müller’s novel Traveling on One Leg.
Alison Lewis is a professor of German in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including Secret Police Files from the Eastern Bloc: Between Surveillance and Life Writing and Cold War Spy Stories from Eastern Europe (Potomac Books, 2019).
Corina L. Petrescu is an associate professor of German at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of Against All Odds: Subversive Spaces in National Socialist Germany. Glajar, Lewis, and Petrescu recently coedited Secret Police Files from the Eastern Bloc: Between Surveillance and Life Writing.
"The essays in this collection provide insightful analyses as well as methodological inspiration for those researching Cold War history and the depiction of that history."—Vincent M. Gaine, European History Quarterly
“This is indispensable reading for anyone interested in representations of espionage in the Cold War and beyond.”—Sara Jones, author of The Media of Testimony: Remembering the East German Stasi in the Berlin Republic
“In these fascinating papers we see some of the insights gained from new literary readings of those [secret police] files, and new artistic representations of those classic Cold War figures: spies, secret police officers, and informers. A revelatory collection!”—Katherine Verdery, Julien J. Studley Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
“Using fascinating, specific examples that make observers and the observed come alive in the reader’s mind, Cold War Spy Stories from Eastern Europe reveals the dynamic power play among multiple parties who constituted the oppressive political web throughout Eastern Europe and the USSR during the Cold War.”—Susan Signe Morrison, professor of English at Texas State University
“A great intervention by a team of experts equipped to deliver a much needed comparative perspective.”—Stephen Parker, author of Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life
“Presenting a gallery of well-chosen portraits of secret agents who worked for communist East German, Romanian, and Soviet surveillance agencies, this book illuminates the tenuous relationship between memory, discourse, and politics, mediated by the extant secret archives and movies. The chapters document Cold War spies whose complex lives and morally questionable choices enhance our understanding of life under communist dictatorship.”—Lavinia Stan, professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia