Benenson_01-1989
Reviews

Transylvanian Tales

"Tyrants are always assassinated late; that is their great excuse."
—Cioran

It is no surprise that there are a number of mysteries about this book. The author was the deputy director of the Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service; for reasons that he does not care to explain, he defected to the USA in July 1978. Was he a deep-cover American agent? Just before he defected, he says, he took up from under the parquet of his apartment an envelope containing his membership card for the Association of Young Friends of the USA, issued in 1945, and destroyed it. How strange! Was not that just the moment when the card might have come in handy? And fancy keeping it all those years—even under the parquet—when, as he makes it clear, every senior official was spying on his peers on the direct orders of President Nicolae Ceausescu. And why wait ten years before publishing all this flesh chilling information in a book, when the ghastly practices of the Romanian Intelligence Service were revealed by one of his colleagues in 1984? Qe refuse de tuer, un agent secret roumain révéle les dessous de l'affaire by Matui Haidaen.)

The author reveals that as a child he was forced each day by his father (who worked for a General Motors affiliate in Bucharest) to learn by heart a whole page of that city's telephone directory. This training gave him...

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