Chat & Chowder | Spies: The Epic Intelligence War between East and West




Foley & Lardner LLP

111 Huntington Avenue, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02199

Boston, MA, US, 02199

Join us for this installment of our popular Chat & Chowder series, featuring Calder Walton, Assistant Director of the Applied History Project and Intelligence Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center, to discuss his new book, Spies: The Epic Intelligence War between East and West.

Chat & Chowder programs are an excellent opportunity to engage with expert speakers and to network with other globally-oriented participants in an informal environment. Each event features a presentation, audience Q&A, dedicated time for networking, and (of course!) a selection of chowders and beverages.

Thanks to the generous support of The Lowell Institute, Chat & Chowder is now free of charge for all participants (Zoom live-streams remain free as well). We sincerely appreciate The Lowell Institute’s commitment to our mission, as well as the support of our venue, Foley & Lardner LLP. Please consider helping sustain this work by making a contribution here.

This program will be streamed to Zoom from 6:15 to 7:15. To attend the program virtually, please register for the Zoom webinar here.

Advance registration is required. We cannot accommodate walk-ins for the in-person program.

Calder Walton is Assistant Director of the Belfer Center’s Applied History Project and Intelligence Project. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the history of intelligence, national security, and geopolitics. His research, and commentary, about global security frequently appear in major news and broadcast outlets on both sides of the Atlantic.

Calder’s latest book, Spies. The Epic Intelligence War between East and West (2023), is a best-selling exposé of the history of Russian intelligence. Described as “riveting” by the Economist and “a masterpiece” by University of Cambridge History Professor Emeritus Christopher Andrew, it reveals that, contrary to what many in the West thought, the Cold War did not end with the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, but in fact continued after. Today, Western governments are in a new Cold War with Russia and China, with intelligence agencies once again at the frontline.

His work has been published and featured in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, CNN, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Sunday Times, POLITICO, Newsweek, Prospect Magazine, the BBC, NPR, PBS, C-SPAN, FOX News, News Nation, and academic peer reviewed journals such as Intelligence & National Security and the Texas National Security Review.

Calder is also general editor of the multi-volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence to be published by Cambridge University Press. Over three volumes, with ninety chapters by leading scholars, this project will be a landmark study of intelligence, exploring its use and abuse in statecraft and warfare from the ancient world to the present day.

Calder’s research builds on his first (award-winning) book, Empire of Secrets. British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire (2013). While pursuing a doctorate in History at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, and then a Junior Research Fellowship also at Cambridge University, he was a lead researcher on Professor Christopher Andrew’s unprecedented official history of the British Security Service (MI5), Defend the Realm (2009). This research position gave Calder, for six years, privileged access to the archives of MI5, the world’s longest continuous-running security intelligence agency.

As well as his research on intelligence history, Calder is also an English-qualified Barrister (attorney). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and son, who teaches him more about skulduggery than anything else.

Spies is the history of the secret war that Russia and the West have been waging for a century. Espionage, sabotage, and subversion were the Kremlin’s means to equalize the imbalance of resources between the East and West before, during, and after the Cold War. There was nothing “unprecedented” about Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. It was simply business as usual, new means used for old ends.

The Cold War started long before 1945. But the West fought back after World War II, mounting its own shadow war, using disinformation, vast intelligence networks, and new technologies against the Soviet Union. Spies is a “deeply researched and artfully crafted” (Fiona Hill, deputy assistant to the US President) story of the best and worst of mankind: bravery and honor, treachery and betrayal. The narrative shifts across continents and decades, from the freezing streets of St. Petersburg in 1917 to the bloody beaches of Normandy; from coups in faraway lands to present-day Moscow where troll farms, synthetic bots, and weaponized cyber-attacks being launched woefully unprepared West. It is about the rise and fall of Eastern superpowers: Russia’s past and present and the global ascendance of China.

Mining hitherto secret archives in multiple languages, Calder Walton shows that the Cold War started earlier than commonly assumed, that it continued even after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, and that Britain and America’s clandestine struggle with the Soviet government provided key lessons for countering China today. This “authoritative, sweeping” (Fredrik Logevall, Pulitzer Prize­–winning author of Embers of War) history, combined with practical takeaways for our current great power struggles, make Spies a unique and essential addition to the history of the Cold War and the unrolling conflict between the United States and China that will dominate the 21st century.

WorldBoston’s Chat & Chowder series features key authors on international affairs in an engaging setting. In addition to discussion of a featured book (usually sold at a significant discount), the program offers the opportunity for discussion among members and guests – and of course a selection of chowders and beverages. This Chat & Chowder will be hosted in-person (from 6:00 to 7:30PM ET) and live-streamed to Zoom (from 6:15 to 7:15 PM ET only).

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