Martha Dodd was the Soviet spy that got away, not once, but twice, and both times with all her money.
Martha was twenty four when she decides to accompany her parents to Berlin, following her father’s unexpected appointment as American Ambassador to Nazi Germany. Martha goes knowing almost nothing about Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, but thinking it would be a fun way to spend a couple of years, while her complicated personal life in Chicago sorted itself out. Instead, she steps into the celebrity spotlight and almost overnight, finds herself at the over-heated center of Hitler’s ‘New Germany’ with its vicious, internecine struggles for power and proximity to The Fuhrer. To the consternation of the US Government, Martha dates, and beds, the head of the Gestapo, a famous dive-bomber ace, several top generals, Goering, Goebbels, and both Hitler’s piano player and his personal spymaster.
But then a dashing Russian diplomat causes Martha to cast her lot with Stalin and with it a lifetime of high-level intrigue, espionage, betrayal and ultimately, exile.
Martha’ career as a spy didn’t lack for highs and lows. After several years as Stalin’s most important spy in Berlin, she returns to America, tasked with infiltrating First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s inner circle. But it gets put on hold and then forgotten while Moscow Center kills off its best agent-runners in a long series of bloody purges. Martha writes two bestselling memoirs, then goes to Hollywood, with Otto Preminger briefly considering whether to cast Ronald Reagan as Martha’s dissolute brother. Assigned to yet another stillborn operation and then betrayed by a Hollywood hustler turned double-agent, Martha spends years under massive FBI surveillance, only to escape right under their noses, not once, but twice and with all her money: first to sunny Mexico, then finally going to ground in Cold War Prague, old, sad, lonely, rich and bored, living out her final decades as if in a Communist version of Sunset Boulevard.
Until now, the full sweep of Martha Dodd’s strange life and career has never been told. Traitor's Odyssey corrects this by telling Martha Dodd’s full story: from her many dalliances among Hitler’s inner circle, to her work in Soviet spy rings in America, to her and her husband’s role in Henry Wallace’s disastrous 1948 presidential campaign, her years under FBI surveillance, her escape, and lonely exile and death in Prague.
Traitor's Odyssey brings out these previously unexamined aspects of Martha Dodd’s life:
Brendan McNally is a journalist and author who has covered defense, security and intelligence issues since the late 1980s. He cut his teeth covering the Pentagon and Capitol Hill for industry newsletters. Following the 1991 Gulf War, Brendan moved to Prague where he reported for Defense News and The Prague Post. During that time, he uncovered, among other things, Czech government efforts to sell its high-tech ‘stealth radar’ and nuclear weapons technology to Iran. He was also part of a New York Times team investigating a Pentagon cover-up of Iraqi chemical weapons detections by ...
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