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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 (780 )
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4.0 (439 )
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4.1 (434 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rachel Dewald Surrey, UK 04-22-10
    Rachel Dewald Surrey, UK 04-22-10 Listener Since 2009

    rage2o

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting history of espionage technology"

    It always helps when the reader of the audio book (David Drummond in this case) is engaging, and this was definitely an example of that. It actually felt like he was the one who wrote it, it was so smooth.

    The content is fascinating; exploring spy technology from the old OSS up through now. It was really cool to hear about how audio surveillance has changed over the years. Today we forgot just how much transistors and integrated circuits have truly shrunk things.

    Another great aspect is the personal touch, the book is not just about the technology but the people in the OTS ("techs") who deploy (frequently at high risk) the surveillance or even defuse bombs.

    Highly recommended!

    7 of 8 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald Keyser 09-01-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    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.

    3 of 4 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.

    3 of 4 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 6 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 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Indianapolis, IN 05-17-17
    Matthew Indianapolis, IN 05-17-17 Member Since 2015

    Matt

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    "Very interesting timeline of this part of the CIA."

    Very interesting timeline of this part of the CIA. Very detailed and good explanation of the terminology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. 12-28-16
    R. 12-28-16
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    "Very interesting up to 2001, then just dead air"

    the story was very interesting as it related to Cold War and World War two events. However the books did not even attempt to explain the failures that led to 9/11 or to combat terrorism. for this reason, it is in need of an update. However, the book does an amazing job explaining the incredible achievements that were achieved by the intelligence community in the last century.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scott malek 11-19-16
    scott malek 11-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Spycraft to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Som dry material better absorbed this way


    What did you like best about this story?

    The technical hints and finds applicable to the average guy


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The betrayal of some of our top agents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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