An award-winning journalist exposes the troubling truth behind the world's first act of nuclear terrorism.
On November 1, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko sipped tea in London's Millennium Hotel. Hours later, the Russian former intelligence officer, who was sharply critical of Russian president Vladimir Putin, fell ill, and within days was rushed to the hospital. Fatally poisoned by a rare radioactive isotope slipped into his drink, Litvinenko issued a dramatic deathbed statement accusing Putin himself of engineering his murder.
Alan S. Cowell, then London Bureau Chief of the New York Times, who covered the story from its inception, has written the definitive story of this assassination and of the profound international implications of this first act of nuclear terrorism.
Who was Alexander Litvinenko? What had happened in Russia since the end of the cold war to make his life there untenable and in severe jeopardy, even in England, the country that had granted him asylum? And how did he really die?
The life of Alexander Litvinenko provides a riveting narrative in its own right, culminating in an event that rang alarm bells among Western governments at the ease with which radioactive materials were deployed in a major Western capital to commit a unique crime.
But it also evokes a wide range of other issues: Russia's lurch to authoritarianism, the return of the KGB to the Kremlin, the perils of a new cold war driven by Russia's oil riches, and Vladimir Putin's thirst for power.
"[A] wholly engrossing and thought-provoking story of espionage and homicide." (
Los Angeles Times)
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Interesting topic and well researched