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Summary

January 1977. While the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station fills his gas tank, a stranger drops a note into the car. 

In the years that follow, that stranger, Adolf Tolkachev, becomes one of the West’s most valuable spies. At enormous risk Tolkachev and his handlers conduct clandestine meetings across Moscow, using spy cameras, props, and private codes to elude the KGB in its own backyard - until a shocking betrayal puts them all at risk. 

Drawing on previously classified CIA documents and interviews with firsthand participants, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting and a riveting true story from the final years of the Cold War.

©2017 David E. Hoffman (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Billion Dollar Spy

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Who on Earth is this narrator?

Good book, very interesting no doubt.

However this narrator is speaking in broken English and has the most enormous gaps between words and random pauses thrown in the middle of each sentence. It's incredibly off putting, like he's struggling to read the lines. It really ruins it. Play on 1.25 speed if possible to attempt to fix it.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A struggle....

Loved the story, but unfortunately I struggled with the narration...... strange breaks in the reading. Seemed to drag on as the story feels like it was pulled from pillar to post to fill it out a bit. Fascinating story, but didn’t like the presentation.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

So interesting. Do read this alongside the other brilliant account covering UK’s intelligence successes The Spy and the Traitor.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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First class

Great book and really well read. First time I have given 5 stars in each coloumn.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting almost unknown spy

Detailed account of true story of CIA spy in Soviet Union. The story kept me listening. But the reader almost caused me to give up. At times I wondered if the narrator was real or was a computer. Poor intonation, inappropriate pauses, and in places much worse than the directions provided by my satnav.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Espionage history at it's best.

I love this subject and this book is very good at describing the ins and outs of alot of what goes on whilst the CIA runs a high profile agent in the USSR. as the main subject is also little later on in the cold war, it's also little more current than some of the books about espionage that you come across. The side acts are also very famous spies, so I think overall people will enjoy this book as much as I did.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh.

No doubt a thrilling story of event, but the repetition makes the delivery of the story boring. Maybe this was down the narrator?

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classic Cold War Thriller

Very detailed book, very well read. There is a lot to learn even for someone who has read a lot of books on this subject. Very real and felt dangerous.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story, but narration is sometimes jarring

Fantastic story with exceptional detail and supporting context. However, the narrator’s performance of some sentences is irritating. Having not seen the written text; I cannot be sure that the author hasn’t included numerous unneeded commas (although I suspect it’s likely to be the narrators own bizarre structure). On occasions I had to re-listen to paragraphs as there were awkward breaks or continuations that didn’t flow well. Either way; Tolkachev is undoubtedly an unsung hero of the Cold War and subsequent conflicts.

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moving

this was a journey of monumental new appreciation for what has come before us and the sacrifices made