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Spies Beneath Berlin

Operation Stopwatch/Gold, said CIA chief Alan Dulles, was one of the most valuable and daring projects ever undertaken. In 1955 it ran a tunnel 800 metres under the Russian sector of Cold War Berlin, and for more than a year tuned into Red Army intelligence. This was an almost impossible trick: apart from the technical wizardry needed, any noise or vibration could have given the game away.

That the operation succeeded is even more surprising than it looks. Trust, even between allies, was dangerous. Despite the Burgess and Maclean affair, the Americans had decided that co-operation was safe once more, and Stopwatch/Gold was a joint CIA/MI6 project using British expertise from a prototype in Vienna. This was a mistake: there was another mole in the British secret services, and the KGB knew about the tunnel even before it was built.

This book tells the story. David Stafford draws on eyewitness interviews and the full range of sources. Ironically, it was the Russians who supplied the minutes of the meeting that OK'd the tunnel. They had been taken by George Blake (who was of course the mole).


Huntsville- Decator Daily

"Read this book which is at once history, adventure and human nature at its most ingenious…"

Washington Times

"A former diplomat, David Stafford is one of Britain’s foremost intelligence writers, a reputation this book will enhance."


Washington Post

"…a fascinating story…Stafford’s engaging account is full of detail…Spies Beneath Berlin is an illuminating reinterpretation of a little-known piece of Cold War lore."



"Not only is Stafford well informed, he possesses the talent for stage-setting and atmospherics that parlays researched fact into fascinating drama."


Library Journal

 "What a Great Story! And Stafford tells it exceedingly well in sprightly prose. This book belongs in all collections that cover Cold War espionage."


Publishers Weekly

"..documenting covert operations and intrigue as complex and dramatic as espionage fiction…Stafford writes with clarity, and his cool, methodical style adds to the suspense, which peaks in the closing chapters with the April 1956 discovery of the tunnel by the stunned Russians."



"Good stuff for Le Carre fans."


M.R.D.Foot, The Spectator

"In a short, compelling book, quite as exciting as a good detective story, Stafford has cleared away a great many past misconceptions. [It is] impeccably convincing."


Oleg Gordievsky, Literary Review

 "A remarkable book…which reminds us of something we should never forget- how a few outstanding Britons and Americans helped to preserve the peace, security and freedom of the West in the harshest days of the Cold War."


Anthony Glees, Times Literary Review

 "Soundly researched and entertaining’"


Washington Post Book World

"Stafford’s engaging account is full of detail... an illuminating reinterpretation of a little- known piece of Cold War lore’"


15 Minutes Magazine

"A highly readable and exciting account of an intriguing Cold War episode. Buy it! "

Buy David Stafford