Review of Deep Undercover

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”
C.S. Lewis

Albrecht Dittrich – or Jack Barsky, as he’d soon come to call himself – had it made.

He’d flown to the top of his class and landed an impressive professorship as a fresh-faced youth.

He had friends in high places – close friends, and soon to be powerful friends – rising in the ranks of the Communist party there in East Germany. “You only tell the Party ‘No’ once,” he’d been told.

It came as no surprise, then, when a mysterious stranger showed up and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Soon, he was across the Berlin Wall in forbidden West Germany, testing the waters to see if he’d crumple under the pressure of an assumed identity.

The KGB’s Plum

Certain they’d landed a prodigious young spy, the KGB started grooming Albrecht. His proficiency with languages caught their attention, and when his aptitude for American English surfaced, they decided he was destined for big things.

One day his handler sighed, “You’re going to be the kind of person all the girls dream about.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I was at a movie the other day, a spy movie, and I overheard two girls who were seated behind me. One of them said, ‘I wish I could meet a guy like that.'”

Ironically, his invisible connection to the KGB would clothesline his prospects with a long list of ladies.

It wasn’t until the innocence of a brown-eyed baby girl would stir his emotionless soul that he allowed himself to face the growing conviction that the KGB wasn’t the Glorious Cause he’d believed it was.

Now…what would he, a deeply committed Communist spy entrenched in his own American dream, do about it?

My Impression

Deep Undercover, as a memoir, is one of those books that makes me keep reminding myself that it’s all true.

It’s unnerving, realizing that KGB operatives openly communicated in plain sight on American streets, oftentimes transmitting information about American citizens and their families. It’s heartening to think how God directed so many steps to lead this spy to peace and rest.

I’m glad to know that he turned to the freedom offered by the clemency of the United States, but more fundamentally, the freedom offered by the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a history lover, I was intrigued to hear a detailed account of how a spy gets trained. Even more interesting was his mixed-up perceptions about the West. I loved watching the realization as it dawned that the Berlin Wall was not to keep the West Germans out, but to keep the East Germans in.

The Post-World War II history of Germany is a fascinating subject. I learned more from this book than I’ve ever known about this tense period. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of either Germany or Communism.

More than anything, it underscored to me how overrated money, power, and prestige really are. When Jack Barsky had the world at his fingertips, he realized how very empty it was.

He’d trade it all for one innocent smile.

I so appreciate Tyndale for providing this book for free in exchange for my honest review. 

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