28: From Markus Wolf to Joseph Kanon – Dead Drop 5

Dead Drop 5 on the Spybrary Spy Podcast with Ian Sanders


Are you ready for our second installment of DEAD DROP 5?

Today’s guest is no stranger to East Germany. He is deep under cover, embedded in Communist East Berlin, he has asked his SIS handler to leave him 5 of his favorite spy books in their dead drop location in the Friedrichshain park.

Ian Sanders of the Manchester Military History Society has been reading spy books for many years and has written almost 400 reviews on military,cold war and espionage books on goodreads.  Today he is going to whittle those 400 books down to just a handful ….this is DEAD DROP FIVE on the Spybrary Spy Podcast.


Ian's Dead Drop 5 picks are:

Dead Drop 5 on the Spybrary Podcast
Dead Drop 5 on the Spybrary Podcast





Dead Drop 5 on the Spybrary Spy Podcast
Dead Drop 5 on the Spybrary Spy Podcast

Listen to episode 28 of the Spybrary Spy Podcast and hear why Ian chose these 5 books to be stashed in his dead drop.



Spybrary Host Shane Whaley could not resist asking Ian about his experiences visiting Berlin in the 80s. Ian tells us what it was like to cross into the German Democratic Republic  (he made that trip 5 times) and he shares his impressions of traveling through the infamous Berlin ‘Ghost' Stations.

Today's guest Ian Sanders at the Berlin Wall in 2012


You can follow Ian at
Manchester Military History Society on Twitter

Read Ian's GoodReads Reviews

Spybrary Spy Podcast Discussion Group
Talk more about spy books in our Spybrary discussion group

You can also chat with Ian on the Facebook Spybrary Group. If you enjoyed todays’s conversation on the Spybrary Spy Podcast with Shane Whaley, you are going to love the discussions and debates we have over on our Spybrary Listeners Discussion group – join here


Books and other items of interest mentioned on this episode of the Spybrary Spy Podcast

Inside the Forgotten Ghost Stations of a once Divided Berlin – Photos/report from Atlas Obscura

Short video documentary on the Berlin Ghost Stations of East Germany

WatchTower at Potsdamer Platz History and Info (Insider Tip – this is well worth a visit and is tucked behind the German Spy Museum in Berlin.)

Remembering Radio Berlin International

Beyond the Wall – Memoirs of an East and West German Spy – Werner Stiller

Riddle of the Sands – Erskine Childers


The Riddle of the Sands – Movie Trailer

The Secret Agent's Bedside Reader : A Compendium of Spy Writing – Michael Smith

Leaving Berlin – Joseph Kanon

Bertolt Brecht Biography

Man Without A Face – Markus Wolf

Profile of Markus Wolf, The Independent 1993

Markus Wolf, East German Spymaster, dies at 83. NY Times Obituary

Rainer Rupp


Deutschland 83 DVD

Oleg Gordievsky – KGB Colonel who worked for the British in London

Otto John – new light shed on legendary Cold War double defector

Otto John Obituary -The Independent

Gabriele Gast (top West German Spy who was working for the German Democratic Republic)

Anne McElvoy


Kim Philby giving a lecture to the Stasi in East Berlin. Can you spot Markus Wolf?

Operation Whisper: The Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen –  Barnes Carr

Lona Cohen

Morris Cohen

Morris Cohen, 84, Soviet Spy who passed Atom plans in 40's Obituary

84 Charing Cross Road -Helene Hanff

The Same Sky – Netflix Drama – The fates of two families become intertwined when an East German “Romeo” agent on assignment seduces a woman on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

Zoo Station Adventures in East and West Berlin – Ian Walker
This is out of print, there are some very expensive copies on Amazon, I found a cheap copy on Ebay.


Trailer for Atomic Blonde, set in Berlin 1989.

Stasi Child Series – David Young

Trinity Six – Charles Cumming

C J Sampson – Winter in Madrid

Amazing escape from East Berlin by microlight!

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2 Responses
  1. David Craggs

    Another excellent episode.
    Spybrary is such a good idea and Shane does an amazing job hosting and animating it.
    Thanks to this particular broadcast, I’ve ordered ‘The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader’ and previous casts lead to me purchasing the complete ‘Sandbaggers’ DVD (something I’d watched back in the day but enjoyed much more this time around) – old dogs can learn new tricks !
    Ian’s selections were also very interesting. I’ve read ‘Riddle Of The Sands’ and would concur that Joseph Kanon is excellent. The rest I’ll look into. It is just so great listening to like minded individuals give their insights.
    A much needed service after the demise of the serious book critic.
    Can’t wait for the next one.