What's your secret?
American Spies presents the stunning histories of more than forty Americans who spied against their country during the past six decades. Michael Sulick, former head of the CIA's clandestine service, illustrates through these stories - some familiar, others much less well known - the common threads in the spy cases and the evolution of American attitudes toward espionage since the onset of the Cold War. After highlighting the accounts of many who have spied for traditional adversaries such as Russian and Chinese intelligence services, Sulick shows how spy hunters today confront a far broader spectrum of threats not only from hostile states but also substate groups, including those conducting cyberespionage.
Sulick reveals six fundamental elements of espionage in these stories: the motivations that drove them to spy; their access and the secrets they betrayed; their tradecraft, i.e., the techniques of concealing their espionage; their exposure; their punishment; and, finally, the damage they inflicted on America's national security.
“This is a must-read if one hopes to understand what it will take to keep America's secrets secret.” (Michael Hayden, former director of CIA, former director of NSA)
"Reading Michael Sulick on the subject [of espionage] is akin to taking a tour of London with the queen of England as your personal guide. The author comes with blue-ribbon credentials: he served in the CIA as an operations officer for 28 years, in positions including chief of counterintelligence and director of the National Clandestine Service." (Washington Times)
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A fascinating history of infamy
Enjoyable, always interesting history of the most (in)famous spies of the past seventy years. Sulick breaks the book into chapters delving into various historical periods, e.g. Cold War Soviet spies, Viet Nam era, 1980's, military spies, age of terrorism, etc. and this helps frame common themes the perpetrators tended to have in common (e.g ideology, greed, corporate espionage, sense of grievance etc). The end result? Not only an absorbing recounting of the perpetrators, their crimes and the influences that shaped them, but also the challenges law enforcement faced in catching them. Engrossing stuff. I liked as well that the author frequently cited sources which is a bit unusual for this genre IMO. This book had me captivated from beginning to end. My only gripe was that major cases were given the same level of detail/treatment as more minor, obscure cases.
Far from dry. Managed to imbue a sense of drama in the narration without being overdone.
For lovers of spy genre fiction, this would make a useful companion reader.