After reading Russian copy, I ordered American edition (first American edition has been published before it was released in Russian in Moscow). I was interested in document appendix to American edition and was looking to review (for myself) if English language translation...
After reading Russian copy, I ordered American edition (first American edition has been published before it was released in Russian in Moscow). I was interested in document appendix to American edition and was looking to review (for myself) if English language translation is adequate. I was able to get both my questions resolved:
1. Document attachments are much more complete, better printed, and, a s the result, more readable (including photocopies of Russian originals)
2. Translation... well... reasonable (I saw much worse), but obviously stumbling on some minor elements (need to live through it to understand its missing subtlety, so no real fault there, but could be done better) and not so minor (as missing/added/different names or titles of referred individuals and changed contact circumstances - did Beria called himself or his secretary called, or alike).
Now, for the 2nd point: this is the second and expended edition that was published two years after the 1st American edition and a year after Russian edition (published in Russia). So, some things may been clarified and reviewed, but it is hard to know what is more factual. This is my grunge for it, but I can''t really hold it against the book: writing this book two years before his passing, 90+ year old Pavel Sudoplatov just put on paper what his memory kept and I would be very surprised if he referenced and archival materials (other than, may be, his well worn personal pocket phone book; even if he had some privileged access to some archival materials). And I, we all, should be grateful to him for this.
And I''m not talking about his recollections on Soviet nuclear espionage that make some people to jump in their chars in defense of Oppenheimer, Szilard, and Bohr: they don''t need our defense and there greatness and role in history already assured. I''m talking about Stalin''s hesitation and retracting order to attempt assassination of Hitler circa 1942/43 as he was concerned with potential Hitler successors to attempts achieve separate peace arrangement/cessation of hostilities with Great Britain and the United States on account of Soviet Union (in retrospect, it had some merit as US and GB ware involved in very bloody fighting with Japan in the Pacific and reversing "Europe First" policy by FDR would help US Army in the East). But one could only imagine how many human lives would be saved if Stalin would give his "do it" order and it would indeed remove Hitler from History in 1943.
From more internal Russian perspective his recollections of the removal of Beria are very valuable, even not groundbreaking. I found mention of military training of Kurds also to be of significant interest (even I already knew about this).
For those who''re saying that General Pavel Sudoplatov is a self-confessed killer and War criminal, I would say "yes, he served, served with distinction, to a very bloody dictatorship and the very bloody time". If there is Haven, he''s not likely to be admitted. But read the beginning of his book... about his childhood and teenage years... he leaved in the Time and Space of the constant non-stoppable war ware bloodshed was the norm. And how you would judge the great man and woman of SOE and OSS?.. What about CIA in South America in 1950/60?.. Rangers in Vietnam?.. Are you ready to forgive blood on the hands only of your own?.. I won''t be first who throw stone...
All this aside. This book is a great historical document that by incidentally, yes - incidentally, was published. Read it critically at your own peril, but read it, if you want some-how to get some grasp of our shared history of the last 100 years.