Engineering Communism

How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley

Steven T. Usdin

View Inside Price: $37.00


September 5, 2005
352 pages, 6 x 9
14 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300195521
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth
e-book

Engineering Communism is the fascinating story of Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, dedicated Communists and members of the Rosenberg spy ring, who stole information from the United States during World War II that proved crucial to building the first advanced weapons systems in the USSR. On the brink of arrest, they escaped with KGB’s help and eluded American intelligence for decades.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Barr and new archival evidence, Steve Usdin explains why Barr and Sarant became spies, how they obtained military secrets, and how FBI blunders led to their escape. He chronicles their pioneering role in the Soviet computer industry, including their success in convincing Nikita Khrushchev to build a secret Silicon Valley.

The book is rich with details of Barr’s and Sarant’s intriguing andexciting personal lives, their families, as well as their integration into Russian society. Engineering Communism follows the two spies through Sarant’s death and Barr’s unbelievable return to the United States.

STEVE USDIN is senior editor at Biocentury Publications.

"Engineering Communism provides a fascinating look at a virtually unknown facet of Cold War spy lore—the story of two Americans who worked with the Rosenbergs to transfer American military technology to Russia and went on to help found the Soviet computer industry. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in an age we have quickly
forgotten, in which Americans could become committed Communists and risk everything for the sake of ideology."—Francis Fukuyama (Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Author of "State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century, and "The End of History and the Last Man")



"Mr. Usdin has made an important contribution to the story of Soviet espionage and to Cold War history."—Ronald Radosh, New York Sun

 

"Usdin has done a superb job of weaving information from a variety of sources."—John T. Ward, The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

A frightening litany of official blunders and failures…a must-read for today’s security establishment…reads like a spy thriller.

"An engrossing and quintessential tale of two American immigrants—Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant—using their entrepreneurial skill and inventiveness to create a high tech empire. . . . Usdin . . . tells this emotionally and historically complex tale well. [He] writes crisply and engagingly."—Robert Goldberg, American Spectator

"A story of an unusual life, well-told with some sympathy and understanding."—Seymour E. Goodman, Technology and Culture

"The book certainly adds to our rapidly growing understanding of Soviet computing."—James W. Cortada, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing