Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Five top nonfiction books about espionage

Charles Stross has won two Hugo Awards and been nominated twelve times. He has also won the Locus Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Novella, and has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke and Nebula Awards. His latest book is Empire Games. One of the author's five recommended nonfiction books about espionage, as shared at Tor.com:
The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA by John Ranelagh

Ranelagh has become the unofficial historian of the CIA and The Agency, published at the height of the Cold War, was his first, monumental history of the rise of the organization: from its roots in the wartime OSS, through its ascendancy in the 1950s, its transformation into a government bureaucracy and intelligence analysis operation, the shift towards electronic intelligence gathering in the 1960s, the U2 program and Vietnam, and on to the post-Watergate enquiry into CIA black operations by the Church Commission in the mid to late 1970s.

There are more recent books on the subject (including the author’s own CIA: A History), but this was the first to break the myth of the Company’s slick public presentation and reveal it as another bumbling Washington bureaucracy … but one that had toppled governments, repeatedly tried to assassinate Fidel Castro (with everything from exploding cigars to poisoned boot polish), and dosed an elephant with LSD (because every government bureaucracy needs elephants on acid).
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue