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
"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)
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.
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.
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.
Say something about yourself!
Jump around a lot, taking stories from headlines and adding writers impressions, not worth it in my opinion.
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.
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.
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.
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