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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Scott on 05-20-14
A fascinating history of infamy
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
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.
What about Robert J. Eckrich’s performance did you like?
Far from dry. Managed to imbue a sense of drama in the narration without being overdone.
Any additional comments?
For lovers of spy genre fiction, this would make a useful companion reader.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Brigham on 12-15-15
Making A Complex Topic Accessible To All...
This was excellent. It was informative without being academic. It was well delivered without understating its main message. Certain points of argument were repeated more than necessary at intervals throughout. However, I cannot fault the author for this. Taking an inherently esoteric topic and making it accessible to the layman is a daunting task.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful