Every night, my husband and I watch a show together. For some time, we were watching The Americans, a show about a Russian couple who come to America and are spies yet are fully integrated into their American lives.
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Before watching the show, I hadn’t really thought much about spies. But then, as luck would have it, I found the book Deep Under Cover by Jack Barsky, which is the true story of one man’s journey as a Russian spy turned defector.
About Deep Under Cover
This book held my attention right from the beginning. It’s written in an easy style, and learning about the world of East German post-World War II was fascinating for the history buff in me.
Jack Barsky was born Albrecht. His childhood was a tough one–he suffered through East German poverty and his parents were rather cold and emotionally distant. When he was in his teens, his parents divorced. Albrecht and his brother chose to live with their mother. Albrecht occasionally visited with his father, but the last time he saw him was when he was 17.
Albrecht was bright, and his mental aptitude gained him prestigious awards when he went to college. He had plans to get his Ph.D and be a professor at the college he attended in Jena, East Germany, but a knock on his door one day changed his plans.
Albrecht never did learn how the KGB scouted him out, but he was open to the adventure of being a spy. Plus, he was a strong believer in Communism, and he wanted to pursue and support that cause. He had nothing but disdain for the capitalist system.
Albrecht eventually was sent to the United States to be a spy, which he did for 10 years. However, he found himself deeply rooted in American culture, and he had to make a decision–return to Germany or stay in America and face serious consequences as a defector.
My Thoughts on Deep Under Cover
As a person, Jack Barsky wasn’t an admirable fellow. He worked as a spy, he had several children that he did not stick around to raise, and his personal life was challenging, to say the least. Yet one gets the feeling that Jack Barsky was also very charismatic and likable.
At the end of the book, Barsky is redeemed when he becomes a Christian. His parents had strictly forbidden any interest in religion when he was growing up, so it was easy to see that his “God” became Communist ideology. By the end of the book, Barsky is a changed man.
What I enjoyed about this book was seeing how being a spy worked. I was surprised that much of the time in America, Barsky wasn’t actually spying. Instead, he was pursuing a college degree so he could be placed in a position that would help him gather information. While being a spy did have its suspenseful moments, for much of Barsky’s career, he struggled with loneliness.
This is an excellent book, which I give 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from Tyndale Books in exchange for my honest opinion.