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I didn't really make New Year's resolutions this year, but I mentioned before that an unofficial "goal" for me is to read more about the Cold War. The Cold War was kind of a big deal, and it's pretty amazing when you think about that we fought an entire war without any official shots being fired back and forth. Like many millennials though, I didn't understand it that well, so this is the year I chose to remedy that.
Deep Undercover is the story of Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy turned proud American citizen and Christian. I loved this book! Barsky's story is written as narrative non-fiction, so it reads more like a novel, and it is fascinating. This book gave me a really good idea of what it was like in East Germany in the post-World-War-II era, and how many East Germans thought their communist government was anti-Nazi, and the answer to the world's problems. Even though Barsky doesn't realize until much later the atrocities that have been committed by communist regimes, it was fascinating to get a glimpse into how this ideology was explained to those who had to live under it, and how the American way of life was demonized and the truth hidden under government propaganda.
Barsky is eventually recruited by the KGB, and the stories of his "spy training" were so interesting. I think we have this glamorized view of spies in our culture, but this book made me see that a lot of these spies are just normal people, and their tasks are rather mundane. Dangerous, but not necessarily glamorous. It was so interesting. The way he ended up defecting from the KGB was really clever too! I didn't see it coming.
The best part of this book was reading about how Barsky's view of the US (and Christianity) started to change when he actually started living here, how he developed a love of freedom through experiencing it in America and realized how much of that freedom the people in East Germany did not have.
After many personal and family struggles, Barsky ends up hiring an assistant who is a Christian. He researches the Christian faith and eventually comes to know Jesus as His Savior. This was the coolest part of the story to me. Barsky never found out why exactly he was recruited to the KGB, but if he hadn't been recruited, he never would have formed a life in America, and perhaps never would have come to Christ. It was amazing to see God working through his life, even as a KGB spy.
I highly recommend this book. Even if you aren't particularly interested in the Cold War, this book was an absolutely fascinating read! I couldn't find a big enough chunk of time to finish it in one sitting, but I was sorry every time I had to put it down!
Note: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for a review. This is my honest opinion.