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Spycraft Audiobook

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda

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Publisher's Summary

  • Secret instructions written in invisible ink
  • Covert communications slipped inside dead rats
  • Subminiature cameras hidden in ballpoint pens

If these sound like the stuff of science fiction or imaginary tools of James Bond's gadget-master Q's trade, think again. They are real-life devices created by the CIA's Office of Technical Service. Now, in the first book ever written about this ultrasecretive department, the former director of OTS teams up with an internationally renowned intelligence historian to give listeners an unprecedented look at the devices and operations deemed "inappropriate for public disclosure" by the CIA just two years ago.

Spycraft tells amazing life-and-death stories about this little-known group, much of it never before revealed. Against the backdrop of some of America's most critical periods in recent history - including the cold war, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the war on terror - the authors show the real technical and human story of how the CIA carries out its missions.

©2008 Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, and Henry R. Schlesinger; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Forget James Bond's famous 'Q' and Hollywood, this is the most remarkable and revealing book ever published about the history and technology of spying." (Peter Earnest, executive director, International Spy Museum)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (733 )
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4.0 (385 )
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Performance
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  •  
    gerry milton, ON, Canada 04-25-14
    gerry milton, ON, Canada 04-25-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Many TLA's"

    This book is quite dry and unexciting. To be fair, it never pretends to be anything else. It does provide quite intriguing facts on what CIA Techs developed and provides some intriguing stories of exploits that CIA spies had to carry out during the cold war. One main frustrating part is the endless TLA's or three letter acronyms which may work better if you were reading rather than listening. I gave up on most except the main one for the branch that makes the spycraft (can't remember it already). The book also is a combinations of at least 2 but maybe 3 authors and thus is bit disjointed with definitions of some terms not coming until the end. The material at the core is actually quite fascinating - as an example they were using texting devices back in the 70's. One author is too caught up in trying to also provide a chronological history to the dedicated staff in his department, and causes it to read a bit like a retirement speech at times. It is a suitable memorial to the great work the staff did for the country's security, but does not translate well to a book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony S. McComas Newton, MA, United States 10-21-11
    Anthony S. McComas Newton, MA, United States 10-21-11 Member Since 2011

    Captain Nemo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The real "Q Branch" from James Bond!!!"

    This book is a must for anyone interested in Cold War Spy History. It is really the story of the men who designed the listening devices, cameras and cool gadgets that helped us gather the intelligence we wanted from our adversaries. It is also the story of the men crazy enough to go in to some of these places to install them. A bit dry at times, but the authors make everything come alive so that you can understand what they are talking about even when the topic is very technical. Mr. Wallace, Melton and Schelsinger have truly helped us peek inside one of the most amazing parts of our history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hervey ATLANTA, GA, United States 05-24-11
    Hervey ATLANTA, GA, United States 05-24-11
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    "THE BEST SPY TACTICS BOOK EVER WRITTEN"

    YOU FIND OUT HOW WE DO OUR SECRET STUFF . . . REAL
    EXCITING . . .

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt B Wilson, NC United States 10-04-08
    Matt B Wilson, NC United States 10-04-08 Listener Since 2008
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    "Starts off slow, but builds."

    After the first hour or two, I thought it was'nt going to be very good. But it builds. The book jumps around a lot.

    Semi-technical. Historical. Funny.

    More in-depth than I thought it was going to be.

    /technical job. amateur radio operator.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger 04-12-14
    Roger 04-12-14 Member Since 2015

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Not A Easy Read"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Jump around a lot, taking stories from headlines and adding writers impressions, not worth it in my opinion.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 10-24-11
    Alan 10-24-11
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    "Takes you on a cloak and dagger exploration."

    A great book that fulfills every child's spy curiosity. Very good detail into the early years of the CIA and the obsticles they had to overcome.
    The only drawback I found was; I was hoping for a little more honesty about 9-11.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick Flagstaff, AZ, United States 05-08-09
    Nick Flagstaff, AZ, United States 05-08-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Info - Dull Presentation"

    I generally love this sort of book. Unfortunately it comes off like a CPA reading a budget report. The narrator is OK, but not the best choice. A reader with a greater tonal range and more active style would have helped. I got through the whole thing, but only be taking several breaks to listen to other books.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Ft. Wayne, IN, USA 12-22-09
    Jim Ft. Wayne, IN, USA 12-22-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Almost addictive"

    I concentrate on business improvement topics but needed a break. This was a great break. I recommend it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan BEAVERTON, OR, United States 11-29-15
    Ryan BEAVERTON, OR, United States 11-29-15
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    "Stories about the technology used at CIA"

    One of the better books about the intelligence community -- focused on Office of Technical Services and the technologies they developed and fielded, as well as some of the basics of spying and why those technologies were useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark D. Rotramel 07-17-15
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    "Things that make you go "Hmmmm""

    Listening to this book left me in awe of those patriots who fight the battle of freedom below the surface of public awareness. Great stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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