“For the conspiracy nut it feeds fuel to an already large fire, for the history buff it has more dates, times, and names than a phonebook, and for people like me that are mixture of the two? It’s perfect. 10/10” – The Cult Den
The arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA was the most dangerous confrontation in the history of the world. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, and US President John F. Kennedy’s willingness to call his bluff, brought the Soviet Union and the West to the edge of a cataclysmic nuclear war. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert Holmes, a British diplomat in Moscow during the early 1960s, provides an answer to one of the greatest mysteries of the Cold War. Kennedy’s confidence in his brinkmanship hung on the evidence provided by Oleg Penkovsky, the MI6/CIA agent inside Soviet military intelligence.
While working on A Spy Like No Other, Holmes set out to tell Penkovsky’s story. But, in doing so, he stumbled upon an astonishing chain of intrigue, betrayal and revenge that suggested a group of maverick Soviet intelligence officers had plotted the crime of the century. When Penkovsky’s treachery was discovered, in the middle of the Missile Crisis, he was executed and his boss, General Ivan Serov (the head of Soviet military intelligence and a former head of the KGB), was subsequently dismissed. The Soviet propaganda machine then thoroughly discredited Serov and consigned him to obscurity.
In this extraordinary new study, Holmes suggests Serov’s anger at the West’s ‘victory’ in Cuba and his resentment at the treachery of his protégé and his own downfall turned into an obsessive determination to gain revenge – and reveals the opportunity he had to do so by working with KGB rogue officers to enlist a young American loner, Lee Harvey Oswald, to assassinate the President.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA of the late 1950s and early 1960s was among the most dangerous periods in world history. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev s desire to place missiles on Cuba, and US President John F. Kennedy s willingness to call his bluff, brought East and West to the brink of nuclear war. For a few days in October 1962, the world really did teeter on the brink of disaster. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Biteback is publishing one of the most astonishing untold stories of the Cold War. Author Robert Holmes, who served as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Moscow during those fateful years, sets out to tell the story of Oleg Penkovsky, the MI6/CIA agent-in-place inside Soviet military intelligence, whose evidence convinced Kennedy that Khrushchev would back down and remove the missiles. Holmes was used to the smoke and mirrors world of Cold War espionage. But what he discovered surprised even him. As he pieced together the information he had found, he realised that it strongly suggested that Penkovsky s patron, head of military intelligence Ivan Serov, was so angered by the West s victory in Cuba and the recruitment of his protégé that he set out for revenge, using rogue elements in the KGB to recruit a young American misfit, Lee Harvey Oswald, to commit the most infamous killing of the twentieth century the assassination of President Kennedy.