Deep Under Cover by Jack Barsky

Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America
Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America
Jack Barsky, Cindy Coloma
Biography & Autobiography
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
March 21, 2017

Deep Under Cover by Jack Barsky


One decision can end everything . . . or lead to unlikely redemption.
Millions watched the CBS 60 Minutes special on Jack Barsky in 2015. Now, in this fascinating memoir, the Soviet KGB agent tells his story of gut-wrenching choices, appalling betrayals, his turbulent inner world, and the secret life he lived for years without getting caught.

On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward Customs and Immigration.

Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist.

The identity was a KGB forgery, used to get one of their own―a young, ambitious East German agent―into the United States.

The plan succeeded, and the spy’s new identity was born: Jack Barsky. He would work undercover for the next decade, carrying out secret operations during the Cold War years . . . until a surprising shift in his allegiance challenged everything he thought he believed.

Deep Undercover will reveal the secret life of this man without a country and tell the story no one ever expected him to tell.

Editorial Reviews


Being an atheist, spy, and living a double life Jack Barsky finds himself deep undercover in a world few ever see.  Or do we?  Jack’s journey into the spy world leads him on a road of secrets, lies and living life with fear of being “discovered”.  We can all relate to this to some degree in our life as Christians.  Do we secretly live our lives one way on Sundays, and become a totally different person the rest of the week? Though the grace of God Jack’s double life ended and he discovered that living as God intended offered more than he could have imaged.  Jack’s story is told honestly and with a deep and sincere understanding of how God can work in even the darkest of places.  –



The making of “an undercover agent spying on behalf of the Soviet Union.” Born Albrecht Dittrich in 1949 in East Germany, Barsky recounts his meticulously prepared career as a KGB spy, his mission as an embedded agent in the United States, and his subsequent coming out of the cold in the late 1980s. All his life, Barsky enjoyed sterling accomplishments, from winning the prestigious Karl Marx Scholarship in 1970 to graduating to an assured career as a professor in chemistry; later, at age 40, he graduated as the valedictorian from Baruch College in New York. Early on, as a good Young Pioneer and member of the Communist Party, the stoical, determined youth vowed that if he ever got the chance, he would somehow contribute “to the destruction of the evil forces of fascism and capitalism.” That opportunity arrived with his recruitment by a KGB agent, and he agreed to give up his chemistry career in order to be trained in Russian espionage under the code name Dieter. Aside from his training in Berlin in the “rules of conspiracy,” including mastering shortwave radio and Morse code, cryptography, secret writing, photography, dead-drop operations, and surveillance detection, Barsky had to undergo rigorous instruction in English―in Moscow, no less. After two years, he was ready to embed in the West, first to Canada and then to New York, where he worked as a bike messenger while gradually acquiring the necessary documents for permanent residency. As an illegal, he assumed the identity of a certain Jack Barsky, who had died in 1955. Yet Barsky’s American life, including a job at an insurance company and a wife and child (another family had to be left in Germany), was too good to be true; when his identity was compromised, he boldly defied KBG orders to return, slipping under the radar thanks largely to the collapse of the Soviet Union. An intriguing inside look at international espionage. (Kirkus Reviews)


As a double agent who worked against Russia, I thought I had heard it all. Then I heard Jack’s story. (Naveed Jamali, Former double agent and author of How to Catch a Russian Spy)

Jack’s honesty and sincerity were clear from the first time I met him. He was on a journey, and I was privileged to watch something very special unfold. Jack’s story is fascinating, and Deep Undercover tells it well. A true story of redemption and what can happen when God’s healing love breaks through our mind, heart, and relationships. (Rob Cruver, executive director, Urban Impact)

Our fascination with spies runs deep, particularly those who are under deep cover, the so-called sleeper agents. Living and operating under aliases, with elaborate background stories (called legends), they intrigue us for the double lives they live, sometimes with families―and even children. (The current popularity of FX Network’s award-winning The Americans attests to this.) But what is the truth beneath the often glamorized surface? How are they selected, trained, and dispatched to foreign countries? What are their secret assignments? Deep Undercover lifts the veil on one such case, giving us a glimpse of a secret life, showing us the price one man paid for undertaking such an assignment. Reading his intriguing story, you realize how few of us would willingly undertake such a mission―or succeed! (Peter Earnest, Executive director, International Spy Museum)

Jack Barksy’s ultimate act of courage is sharing this intimate story that sheds light on the true personal consequences of a life in espionage. Gripping and emotional, Deep Undercover peers beyond the Iron Curtain for a look into the world of a KGB officer illegally living abroad. Instead of romanticizing the life of a spy, Barsky tells his story with honesty and heart. (Joel Fields, Writer and executive producer, The Americans)

An incredible look at the astounding journey of a KGB officer in the midst of the Cold War. Heartbreaking, exciting, intriguing. An honest account of one of the most difficult careers known to man. Equal parts memoir, spycraft guide, and historical document, Deep Undercover perfectly describes the crippling insularity of the spy’s life. (Joe Weisberg, Creator, showrunner, and executive producer, The Americans)

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