Not for the faint of heart, the Official K.G.B. Handbook not only offers an interesting window into the paranoid world of this Soviet Union intelligence agency, but the organizations that preceded it. As a first hand reference however it’s especially telling how far their reach extended once Joseph Stalin assumed command of the Communist Party and the true impact he had setting the tone for the agency in the decades to come. Annotated by the British publishers, they provide context to some of the accounts and elaborate upon the final fates of both K.G.B officers and their hapless victims rounded up during Stalin’s Great Purge in the late 1930s. It was also illustrative of just how reviled these “political” criminals were. Even more so than the foulest of criminals, who were routinely recruited in the Russian gulags to physically and sexually assault those singled out by the K.G.B for questioning. This abuse however wasn’t just limited to other prisoners, but systemic across all levels of the agency. Perhaps the most disturbing of their practices was to play upon regional and ethnic tensions to have villagers kill those unwilling to profess their guilt. If you can manage through this catalog of torture it offers great first hand insight into an organization that would go onto take control of the U.S.S.R. until its fall.