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Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda | [Robert Wallace, Henry Robert Schelsinger]

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

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.
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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 (639 )
5 star
 (209)
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4.0 (303 )
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4.0 (299 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Hervey ATLANTA, GA, United States 05-24-11
    Hervey ATLANTA, GA, United States 05-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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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
  •  
    Gerald fitchburg, WI, United States 09-01-10
    Gerald fitchburg, WI, United States 09-01-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Historically interesting ... but manipulative"

    Interesting book. Fun. But, has a tendency to leave out some very important historical details. Extremely white washed version of the history of the CIA. Paints some people who where clearly villains as patriots. If you're going to read this book... spend some time on "Legacy of Ashes." They balance each other.

    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    20
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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
  •  
    gerry milton, ON, Canada 04-25-14
    gerry milton, ON, Canada 04-25-14 Member Since 2014
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger 04-12-14
    Roger 04-12-14 Member Since 2015

    Retired military with assignments to Saudi Arabia; Germany; Italy and Turkey. Duties include: Operations; Intelligence; Inspector General

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Mark D. Rotramel 07-17-15 Member Since 2015
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    Story
    "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
  •  
    Grant Wentworth 07-12-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A tech nerd's dream!"
    If you could sum up Spycraft in three words, what would they be?

    Innovative, Fun, Educational


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed learning about the evolution of technology and how some private companies help win the Cold War.


    What about David Drummond’s performance did you like?

    He emphasized the right words to give a feeling of what was going through some of the minds of the people he spoke for.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Doing more with a microphone than Bond with a gun.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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