By Richard C.
Fiction may offer thrilling tales of espionage, international and covert operations galore, but gems of nonfiction on the lives of spies and spy agencies will also keep you riveted. What I want to know is, are books about spy agencies as fascinating as they are terrifying? Here are my latest three reads in search of an answer:
By Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal
Mossad is the Israeli Secret Service agency and these are accounts of the most dangerous missions its conducted since its 1949 inception. Two thrilling accounts are about Mossad’s capture of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann in 1960 and the missions against Black September (think 1972 Olympics assassination). Most interesting to me – given ongoing controversy – were operations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.
The Art of Betrayal
By Gordon Corera
The British Intelligence agency MI6 has been cloaked in secrecy since it began in 1909. How interesting that our understanding of its spies comes mostly from fiction authors like John le Carre (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Ian Fleming (James Bond). My favorite parts were on the challenging lives of individual agents. What is that like?! I lost track of time trying imagine it reading this one.
ENEMIES: A History of the FBI
By Tim Weiner
Tim Weiner is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and author of works on the CIA and Pentagon. Enemies is his accessible, thrilling, scholarly, and comprehensive history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If you ever read a book about the FBI, this may be the one. Using previously unreleased materials, Weiner gives a well-written, stirring account of J. Edgar Hoover’s impact and legacy, of COINTELPRO, and of the FBI’s role in both the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Terror. Weiner also won the National Book Award for his other great spy history, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.
Finally, in all fairness, I can’t name this post Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy without fullfilling what really had to be your first word association. So how about the Spy Vs. Spy Omnibus for a fun take on your any summer travel?!
Maybe you know someone who’s never poured over that never-ending duel to the death between the spy industry’s two most committed foes.