If you think the Cold War is dead as the backdrop for any decent espionage story, you haven't read "When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry," journalist Gal Beckerman's reheating of the politics of the Cold War and of how the millions of Russian Jews and the Americans trying to free them played not so small a part in the collapse of the Soviet empire. It recalls a time, from the early 1960s through the fall of communism in 1989, when nuclear annihilation, not terrorism, was the motivating fear in the West. Central casting was obsessed with crazies behind the Iron Curtain with their fingers on nuclear warheads, and d├ętente and ping-pong diplomacy had as much contemporary resonance as Al Qaeda and the Taliban do now. Unlike the Russia of today, which is far better known for its oligarchs than its ideologues, the closed society of the Soviet Union was largely in the business of suppressing dissent.