Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 17, 2008 - History
More fascinating than fiction, Seduced by Secrets takes the reader inside the real world of one of the most effective and feared spy agencies in history. The book reveals the secret technical methods and sources of the Stasi (East German Ministry for State Security) as it stole secrets from abroad and developed gadgets at home. Seduced by Secrets draws on secret files from the Stasi archives to demonstrate that the Stasi overestimated the power of secrets to solve problems and created an insular spy culture more intent on securing its power than protecting national security. It recreates the Stasi's secret world of technology through biographies of agents, defectors, and officers and by visualizing James Bond-like techniques and gadgets. In this highly original book, Kristie Macrakis adds a new dimension to our understanding of the Stasi by bringing the topic into the realm of espionage history and exiting the political domain.

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User Review  - TomVeal - LibraryThing

A mass of interesting data struggle desperately to survive a disjointed presentation. A reader who puts in sufficient effort will learn much about how real Cold War spies operated and a bit about why ... Read full review


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Page xiii - What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They're a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives. Do you think they sit like monks in London, balancing the rights and wrongs?
Page xvii - Index 181 acknowledgments This book could not have been written without the support of many more than I can name here.
Page 19 - Bloc because the GDR and Soviet Union were able to acquire the same goods through espionage. The military secrets, such as the design of the Leopard tank, could have been used against the West had the balance of power ever changed and the Cold War turned hot. Finally, and paradoxically, every document that was smuggled from the West weakened true scientific innovation in East Germany by maintaining its dependence on the West.
Page 16 - I found this in front of your door; is it yours?" If the agent answered "Yes," then the stranger would report the news. After the building of the Wall, the badge signaled more serious news: It meant "extreme danger, get out of town immediately."17 A few days after Thrane disappeared, an agent code-named "Angel" showed up at the Rehders

About the author (2008)

Kristie Macrakis is Professor of the History of Science at Georgia Tech. She spent 2007 at Harvard University (where she received her Ph.D.) as a Visiting Scholar. Her previous books include Surviving the Swastika (1993) and Science under Socialism (1999).

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