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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 (632 )
5 star
 (206)
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4.0 (296 )
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1 star
 (9)
Story
4.0 (292 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    kirk Westwood 01-20-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "You think it might get "long""

    This book, never gets dry. Never gets boring. From era to era, mission to mission it's level of detail and intrigue stay high. It ignites the imagination, while providing awesome insight into recent history and the clandestine service.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 02-08-14
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 02-08-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun and Interesting. No tech experience required."
    Any additional comments?

    Exactly what i expected! 5 Stars!
    A book about the history of gadgets used in spycraft.
    Lots of excellent little side mission stories within. Also a few of major events explained from a different point of view. Explained in a such a manner that no technical aptitude is required to understand and enjoy.
    A fun listen. Very satisfied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 12-30-12
    Robert 12-30-12

    I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
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    "well done interesting and informative"

    I learned a lot of tidbits from history made interesting by the devilish details behind them. A good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Lange 03-09-12
    K. Lange 03-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How they did it"
    What did you love best about Spycraft?

    This book tells you the high and low tech ways that the CIA spyed on its targets, usually the Russians. It is well written. It does a good job of taking you there.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Wyoming, MI, United States 12-26-11
    Brad Wyoming, MI, United States 12-26-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty interesting history of the CIA."
    What made the experience of listening to Spycraft the most enjoyable?

    Learning about the history of the CIA's Spytechs.


    What aspect of David Drummond’s performance would you have changed?

    I found his narration to be okay. It wasn't stellar, but it wasn't annoying either.


    Any additional comments?

    The breaks between chapters were not long enough. A chapter would end and the following one would immediately begin. I found this fairly jarring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan San Diego, CA, United States 12-22-11
    Bryan San Diego, CA, United States 12-22-11 Member Since 2011

    I've been listening to audio books for well over twenty years (even before audible was available). Secretly, I wish I could be a narrator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Informative and Entertaining"

    It was interesting to learn about the technology that helps keep our country safe from our enemies and the people who help make it happen. As and electronics engineer, I regret I never even thought of working for CIA or NSA. (I'm too old for that now.) I was really impressed how CIA taps into small entrepreneurs and inventors to get cutting edge technology. Most of the technology discussed in this book is obsolete now, so one can only image what they're doing now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alex Seattle, WA, United States 12-19-11
    alex Seattle, WA, United States 12-19-11
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    17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Boring as hell for a technical person."
    What disappointed you about Spycraft?

    I was hoping to get the story of developing and using spy gadgets, instead I got a self-serving story of a CIA historian who praised the work the department he worked for at some point. Bunch of abbreviations, dates and names I don't care about. Politics inside CIA. Booooooring. I only made it through first 2 hours and then gave up.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Wallace and Henry Robert Schelsinger again?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Spokane, WA, United States 10-11-11
    Dave Spokane, WA, United States 10-11-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Slow to start, finishes well"

    It took a while for me to get into this one, but after a couple hours in I found myself unable to shut it off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad LA GRANDE, OR, United States 06-04-11
    Chad LA GRANDE, OR, United States 06-04-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An interesing, if wandering history"

    The book is a definite must read for lovers of spy-tech and spy history. It is very detailed in its stories of individual instances used to illustrate techniques and technologies. Unfortunately, it meanders just a bit in its tellings. In using individual people as vehicles for technology, it seems to cover large spans of time (years or decades) talking about a specific peice of spycraft, then jumps back in time to tell yet another story of another person, in the same time periods, to talk about another peice of technology. Finally, the use of the title word (Spycraft) for every peice of technology, technique, and procedure, while potentially acurate, gets some what distracting as you listen along and hear everything described as a "new piece of spycraft" or an "innovative development in spycraft."

    All in all, the reading is magnificent, the stories are fun and the technology is innovative. A great genre piece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey 02-21-10
    Jeffrey 02-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good information"

    This book had great information about the tech. The real-world examples made it a thriller at times. Technical people will appreciate this book. The political analysis and back-drop help paint a precise picture of the time periods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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