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John Holmes on ‘The Lost Spy’

Posted on Oct 3, 2008
book cover

By John Holmes

(Page 3)

Meier’s depiction of Oggins’ Soviet prison ordeal is excellent. He captures the sights, smells and sounds of the Lubyanka and the Gulag with perfect pitch. While Cy Oggins was wearily fending off Soviet inquisitors, Nerma was living in fear of hounding by the FBI in New York. Cy Oggins’ son Robin, who would become a distinguished historian of the Middle Ages, believed for decades that the American government bore part of the responsibility for his father’s fate. Meier discovered that this was not the case.

Oggins was a man who, as Meier puts it, “fell prey to his own blind faith” in “a realm of harmony and justice, not a world ruled, as he and his comrades saw it, by the lust for profit and violence.” “The Lost Spy” stands as a cautionary tale of faith misplaced and idealism crushed.


book cover


The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service


By Andrew Meier


W.W. Norton, 304 pages


Buy the book


John Holmes is completing a book on the life and times of Noah London, a principal leader of the Jewish communist movement in America and later a prominent Soviet industrial manager who was executed in Moscow in 1937.

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By jackpine savage, October 5, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, this one will find itself on my winter reading list.

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