Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods



There are two biographies devoted exclusively to the life and times of Klaus Fuchs, although both were published before Fuchs's death in 1988. Both cover the same material, in substantially the same way, although one, by Williams, provides more family history and an explanation of the espionage apparatus. Both are worth reading.

An important book dealing with the Soviet atom bomb program and Fuchs's role in it is Dark Sun, by Richard Rhodes. The significance of what Fuchs provided and its relationship to the Soviet timetable is well drawn. Since this account concentrates heavily on what was proceeding in Fuchs's life, and does not describe in detail the corresponding events in Soviet Russia, the reader is directed to this work for the Russian perspective.

Two early books, published not long after Fuchs's unmasking and conviction, are Rebecca West's New Meaning of Treason and Alan Moorehead's The Traitors. Both are successful in attempting to understand Fuchs's psyche and his motivations, and both are exciting reading.

A number of other books have sections or extended references to Fuchs. The best of these are the memoirs of Robert Lamphere, who was the FBI agent most concerned with the Venona code-decrypting project and the agent who interviewed Fuchs in prison. The author of this account had the opportunity to interview Mr. Lamphere in 1988, and is most appreciative of his insights into not only the Fuchs case, but the Rosenberg case as well. For insights into how the Venona transcripts played a role in the identification of Fuchs and Harry Gold, a recent book by Nigel West, Venona, is recommended.

Two very newly published books, The Brother, by Sam Roberts, and Edward Teller's Memoirs have sections on Fuchs that have interesting material. Edward Teller's autobiography, in particular, has a fascinating account of the Los Alamos years, and confirms most of this author's impressions about this disagreeable man.

Some of the people who appear in this account are described more fully in the Crime Library articles about the Rosenbergs and the Cambridge Spies.

The following list of books represents a fraction of the literature available on the atomic bomb, atom spies, and the nuclear arms race. More are published every year. Those listed have been the most useful in describing Klaus Fuchs and his story.

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Albright, Joseph, and Marcia Kunstel. 1997. Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy. Times Books

Holloway, David. 1994. Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy. Yale University Press

Hyde, H. Montgomery. 1980. The Atom Bomb Spies. Hamish Hamilton

Lamphere, Robert J. 1986. The FBI - KGB War: A Special Agent's Story. Random House

Moorehead, Alan. 1963. The Traitors. Dell

Moss, Norman. 1987. Klaus Fuchs: The Man Who Stole the Atom Bomb. St. Martin's Press

Pilat, Oliver Ramsay. 1952. The Atom Spies. Putnam

Roberts, Sam. 2001. The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair. Random House

Rhodes, Richard. 1995. Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. Touchstone

Rose, Lisle A. 1999. The Cold War Comes to Main Street. University Press of Kansas

Schrecker, Ellen. 1998. Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Little, Brown

Sudoplatov, J.L., et al. 1994. Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness, a Soviet Spymaster. Little, Brown

Teller, Edward. 2001. Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics. Perseus

West, Nigel. 2000. Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War. HarperCollins

West, Rebecca. 1964. The New Meaning of Treason. Viking

Williams, Robert Chadwell. 1987. Klaus Fuchs: Atom Spy. Harvard University Press