"There is no doubt ... that Bystrolyotov was a remarkablespy even by the standards of an era when much of theworld was crawling with intelligence agents."
- The Wall Street Journal
"The life story of the inventor of the modern 'honey trap.'... The bastard son of the aristocratic Tolstoy family (or so he claimed)... [who] embarked on a career seducing secretaries, countesses, and diplomat's wives. At one point he married his own wife off to a French intelligence officer in the hopes of obtaining even more information."
- The New York Review of Books
"Bystrolyotov, a spy for Stalin's foreign intelligence service in the 1920s and 30s, by all accounts, a larger-than-life figure... An ideal "poster boy" to inspire coming generations of Russian spies."
- The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"An amazing true-life saga . . . Books on intelligence rarely allow the reader the breadth and depth that this biography has, and even more rarely do we get a look into the motivation and thinking behind the acts as we do here. Bystrolyotov's life is extraordinary, literally another world from the one we inhabit and a fascinating read."
- Suzi Weissman, author of Victor Serge: The Course Is Set on Hope
"This book is [the author's] effort to show a daring professional at work and to counter Russian efforts to whitewash their history.... The details of espionage work and of Soviet life are fascinating."
- The Library Journal
"A major contribution to intelligence history... A critical biography of the spy, a difficult but ultimately successful effort, adding depth to previous accounts... Draitser is able to expose the myth of the Soviet hero-agent... The biography is valuable for readers interested in intelligence affairs and accounts of life in the gulag."
- Slavic Review
"A rare, humanized image of both the Soviet intelligence services and the purges.... Draitser's account of life in the gulag is worth the price of this book, although the general reader will be equally intrigued by Bystrolyotov's spy adventures. Overall, this is a highly readable story that also contributes to our understanding of the often inefficient Stalinist state."
- Russian Review
" Riveting .... Not Jewish himself, Bystrolyotov's life dovetails with Jewish experiences and personalities, thus making this book a worthwhile read for those who have interest in the causes of Soviet Jewry as well as general Jewish history."
- The Jewish Star
"This extraordinary biography of one of Soviet Russia's most flamboyant and successful illegals ... is gripping, entertaining and immensely informative.... Thoroughly engrossing espionage tale worthy of a Hollywood epic."
- Russian Life Magazine
"Bystrolyotov, as Draitser tells it, is one of the most sensational in the pantheon of desperate lives lived by Stalin's illegals. By turns routine, thrilling, conventional, extraordinary, disquieting, disgusting, pathetic, and inspiring, [the spy's life story] stirs emotions of both revulsion and respect, even as it adds a new and instructive chapter to a bleak and terrifying period of history. In this case, the hero chose his biographer well: no one but Draitser could have written this book."
- Gary Kern, author of_A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the _Stalin Terror_and_The Kravchenko Case: One Man's War on Stalin_
" Fascinating . . . Illuminates the inner workings of the Soviet spy network in Europe and the United States in the 1930s. Adventurers who lived for the thrill and excitement of spying, they believed that they worked for the glorious future of the whole of mankind, while in fact serving a criminal country with a Mafia-like oligarchy that included Stalin and his close associates. No wonder that eventually they were betrayed by the very regime they worked for . . . The book is extremely timely now when in Russia, ruled by a small group of former security service officers, Bystrolyotov is proclaimed one of the greatest heroes of the country's foreign intelligence."
- Vadim J. Birstein, author of _The Perversion of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science_