David E. Hoffman
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About David E. Hoffman
David E. Hoffman is Contributing Editor at the Washington Post and a member of the Editorial board. In 1982, he joined The Washington Post to cover Presidents Reagan and Bush. Later, he was diplomatic correspondent, then served as Jerusalem correspondent, covering the Oslo peace accords. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Moscow bureau chief. On returning to Washington in 2001, he was Foreign editor and then Assistant Managing Editor for Foreign news. He has been a correspondent for the FRONTLINE documentaries "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria" (2013), "The Trouble With Antibiotics" (2014) and "The Trouble with Chicken" (2015) and a reporter for “Putin’s Revenge,” (2017).
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Books By David E. Hoffman
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history The Dead Hand comes the riveting story of a spy who cracked open the Soviet military research establishment and a penetrating portrait of the CIA’s Moscow station, an outpost of daring espionage in the last years of the Cold War
While driving out of the American embassy in Moscow on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station heard a knock on his car window. A man on the curb handed him an envelope whose contents stunned U.S. intelligence: details of top-secret Soviet research and developments in military technology that were totally unknown to the United States. In the years that followed, the man, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer in a Soviet military design bureau, used his high-level access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of technical secrets. His revelations allowed America to reshape its weapons systems to defeat Soviet radar on the ground and in the air, giving the United States near total superiority in the skies over Europe.
One of the most valuable spies to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union, Tolkachev took enormous personal risks—but so did the Americans. The CIA had long struggled to recruit and run agents in Moscow, and Tolkachev was a singular breakthrough. Using spy cameras and secret codes as well as face-to-face meetings in parks and on street corners, Tolkachev and his handlers succeeded for years in eluding the feared KGB in its own backyard, until the day came when a shocking betrayal put them all at risk.
Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA and on interviews with participants, David Hoffman has created an unprecedented and poignant portrait of Tolkachev, a man motivated by the depredations of the Soviet state to master the craft of spying against his own country. Stirring, unpredictable, and at times unbearably tense, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting that unfolds like an espionage thriller.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
The first full account of how the Cold War arms race finally came to a close, this riveting narrative history sheds new light on the people who struggled to end this era of massive overkill, and examines the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.
Drawing on memoirs, interviews in both Russia and the US, and classified documents from deep inside the Kremlin, David E. Hoffman examines the inner motives and secret decisions of each side and details the deadly stockpiles that remained unsecured as the Soviet Union collapsed. This is the fascinating story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and a previously unheralded collection of scientists, soldiers, diplomats, and spies changed the course of history.
Oswaldo Payá was seven years old when Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, promising to create a “free, democratic, and just Cuba.” But Castro instead created an authoritarian regime with little tolerance of free speech or thought. His secret police were trained to crush dissent by East Germany’s ruthless Stasi.
Throughout Cuba’s 20th century history, the dream of democracy was often just within reach, only to be dashed by dictatorship and revived again by a new generation. Payá inherited this dream and it became his life’s work. As a teenager in Communist Cuba, he led a protest against the Soviet-led shattering of the Prague Spring. Before long, he was sent to Castro’s forced labor camps. Payá later became a leading voice of opposition and formed a pro-democracy movement. A devoted Catholic, he championed a simple, bedrock belief that rights are bestowed by God, and not the state. Every day, he witnessed these rights trampled in Cuba. He could not stay silent.
Payá’s most daring challenge to the Cuban government was the Varela Project, a one-page citizen petition demanding free speech, a free press, freedom of association, freedom of belief, private enterprise, free elections and freedom for political prisoners. More than 35,000 people signed the Varela Project, an extraordinary outpouring of protest—with nothing more than pen and paper—against Castro’s decades of despotism. The regime responded by ignoring the petition, arresting dozens of Payá’s followers and sending them to prison for many years. After receiving multiple death threats, Payá was killed in a suspicious car wreck on a remote country road.
Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter David E. Hoffman returns with an epic portrait of a lone individual who had the courage, faith, and persistence to struggle for democracy against an unforgiving dictator. At its heart, Give Me Liberty is a sweeping account of one country’s tragic and continuing struggle for its freedom.