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Intelligence Literature: Suggested Reading List

Intelligence Literature












Last updated July 2008


This brief bibliography of intelligence literature provides a wide spectrum of views on intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency. The readings cover history, technology, opinion, and some of the key personalities associated with intelligence. The book lists offer the reader personal and academic views on intelligence, its role in national security, and the forces that have shaped it over the years.

This is not intended to be a complete list of works on intelligence, and it will be updated as needed.

Inclusion of a work on the list does not imply endorsement by the US Government or any of its agencies or branches.

Questions, suggestions and comments are welcomed and should be sent to: Contact Us

Note: Central Intelligence Agency publications are linked to those books on our website.


World War II & Before

Alan Harris Bath

Tracking the Axis Enemy: The Triumph of Anglo-American Naval Intelligence.

Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1998.

An account of the importance naval intelligence played in WWII.

Willam B. Feis

Grant’s Secret Service: The Intelligence War from Belmont to Appomattox.

Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002.

A look General Ulysses Grant's use of intelligence in the Civil War.

Thaddeus Holt

The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War.

New York: Scribner, 2004.

A study of the various deception operations the Allies conducted against the Axis during WWII.

Douglas J. MacEachin

The Final Months of the War with Japan: Signals Intelligence, U.S. Invasion Planning, and the A-Bomb Decision.

Washington, D.C.: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1998.

The importance of signals intelligence at a critical juncture in WWII.

David Robarge

Intelligence in the War for Independence.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1997.

Use of intelligence operations in America's fight for freedom.

P.K. Rose

Black Dispatches: Black American Contributions to Union Intelligence During the Civil War.

Washington, D.C.: Center for Study of Intelligence, 1999.

The story of African-American contributions to Union intelligence during the Civil War.

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Enigma: The Battle for the Code.

New York: John Wiley & Sons, inc., 2001.

The story of the incredible efforts of the Allies to obtain the Enigma machine and break the Nazi code.

Simon Singh

The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography.

New York: Doubleday, 1999.

A history of codes and ciphers and the role they play in warfare and politics.

Robert W. Stephan

Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence Against the Nazis, 1941-1945.

Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004.

An examination of Soviet military counterintelligence and deception operations against the Nazis during WWII.

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CIA & OSS History

Christopher Andrew

For the President's Eyes Only-Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush.

New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995.

Ray Cline

The CIA: Reality vs Myth--The Evolution of the Agency from Roosevelt to Reagan,

(Revised edition of The CIA under Reagan, Bush and Casey).

Washington, DC: Acropolis Books, 1982.

The author, a former top official of the Agency, discusses what clandestine work in an open society is like, why it is needed, and how it can be carried out effectively.

Arthur Darling

The Central Intelligence Agency An Instrument of Government to 1950.

State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990.

A look at the bureaucratic struggles that led to the development of the CIA and the battles that ensued afterward.

Douglas F. Garthoff

Directors of Central Intelligence as Leaders of the U.S. Intelligence Community — 1946-2005

Washington, DC: Center for The Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2005.

A comprehensive study of how politics, institutions, and personalities influenced the DCI's ability to oversee the Intelligence Community.

Ted Gup

The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives

New York: Random House, 2000

Journalist Ted Gup presents the stories of many of the CIA officers who died in the service of their country.

Loch K. Johnson

The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents.

New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia who worked for the Church Committee, discusses both the history of the Agency and the theory of intelligence as he grapples with the issues of secret intelligence in a free society.

Barry M. Katz

Foreign Intelligence: Research and Analysis in the Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989

An intellectual history of OSS's Research and Analysis Branch.

Ronald Kessler

The CIA At War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror.

New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003

A look at the major events of the Agency from the 1980s to the present based mainly on interviews with DCIs and former Agency personnel.

William M. Leary, ed.

The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents.

Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1984.

This book reprints Anne Karalekas's "History of the Central Intelligence Agency," originally published in Book IV of the Church Committee's report. Leary has added an introduction and an appendix of historical documents.

Patrick O'Donnell

Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of WWII's OSS.

New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

Through OSS officer interviews and archive records, O'Donnell tells some heroic and often amazing OSS officer tales that have not been told before.

G. J. A. O'Toole

Honorable Treachery: A History of Intelligence, Espionage, and Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA.

New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991.

A wide-ranging study by a former Agency officer places intelligence in general and the CIA in particular in historical context.

John Ranelagh

The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

A comprehensive and well-researched history of the CIA written by a British author, this work provides a sharp description of the people and events that created the Agency. The most recent comprehensive treatment.

Donald P. Steury

On the Front Lines of the Cold War: Documents on the Intelligence War in Berlin, 1946-1961.

Washington, D.C.: CIA History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1999.

A look at the beginnings of the Cold War from the front lines of Berlin.

Thomas F. Troy

Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981.

Troy studies the concept of centralized intelligence from 1939-1947 and describes the bureaucratic battles involved in trying to establish a central intelligence organization. He had access to many classified documents, some of which appear in the book.

Michael Warner, ed.

The CIA Under Harry Truman

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1994.

The early years of the Agency under the President who created it.

Michael Warner

The Office of Strategic Services: America's First Intelligence Agency.

Washington, D.C.: CIA History Staff , Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2000.

The story of CIA's WWII predecessor.

H. Bradford Westerfield, ed.

Inside the CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992.

New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

Declassified articles from the Agency's "Studies in Intelligence" authored by mostly CIA employees and covering a wide range of intelligence topics.

Robin Winks

Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961.

New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1987.

An account of the beginnings of the link between the American academic community and the Intelligence Community beginning with the creation and running of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS.


Biographies & Memoirs

Clarence Ashley

CIA Spymaster

Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 2004

A biography of legendary CIA case officer George Kisevalter, who handled the extremely important Soviet assets Pyotr Popov and Oleg Penkousky.

Mary Bancroft

Autobiography of a Spy.

New York: Morrow, 1983.

The author worked for Allen Dulles in Switzerland in World War II.

Anthony Cave Brown

The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan

New York: Times Books, 1982.

The biography of the father of the Office of Strategic Services, CIA's predecessor.

Victor Cherkashin with Gregory Feifer

Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer

New York: Basic Books, 2005

When CIA officer Aldrich Ames and FBI special agent Robert Hanssen offered their services to the KGB, Victor Cherkashin was the man they encountered in the Washington Embassy. He tells his side of the story in this memoir.

Duane R. Clarridge with Digby Diehl

A Spy For All Seasons: My Life in the CIA

Dulles, VA: Brassey’s, 2004

Colorful “Dewey” Clarridge was the role model for a dynamic case officer in the CIA that DCI Bill Casey wanted. Their interaction makes good reading as does the balance of Clarridge’s career during some turbulent times in the Cold War.

William E. Colby with James McCarger

Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam.

Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.

Former DCI Colby tells of his role while serving intelligence and CIA Headquarters.

Robert M. Gates

From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

Gates, a former Director of the CIA, gives an autobiographical look at the White House and National Security planning and policy during the five administrations in which he served.

Tom Gilligan

CIA Life: 10,000 Days with the Agency.

Connecticut: Foreign Intelligence Press, 1991.

The author covers his 28-year career from his recruitment through his training as a CIA operations officer, culminating with his assignment as chief of applicant recruitment in New England.

Peter Grose

Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles.

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

A biography of the Director who many consider a "legendary figure".

Richard Helms with William Hood

A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency.

New York: Random House, 2003.

Richard Helms, former OSS officer and longtime Director of Central Intelligence, looks at his career and world of intelligence. Helms reviews his role in many operations and discusses the relationship of the Agency with the White House and Congress.

James Lilley with Jeffrey Lilley

China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage and Diplomacy.

New York: Public Affairs, 2004

A look at America's involvement in East Asia through the eyes of an operations officer who rose through the ranks to become the first Chief of Station in China and eventually Ambassador to that country

Richard L. Holm

The American Agent: My Life in the CIA.

London: St. Ermin's Press, 2003.

What is involved in being a CIA operations officer through the eyes of a retired officer. This book reviews an entire career, the type of training, various assignments, family considerations, and retirement considerations.

David Kahn

The Reader of Gentleman's Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking.

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

The story of the man who revolutionized code breaking in America, making it part of peace time intelligence gathering and not just for war.

Oleg Kalugin

The First Directorate: My 32 years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West.

New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

The head of the former KGB tells about life in the intelligence world on the other side.

Patrick E. Kennon

The Twilight of Democracy.

New York: Doubleday, 1995.

The author offers the lessons he learned from his 25 years as a global political analyst for the CIA.

Tom Mangold

Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.

Mangold is a BBC producer whose biography of the CIA's famous head of counterintelligence will probably hold the field until the Agency releases its files on such topics as the investigation of Soviet defectors' claims.

Antonio J. Mendez

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA.

New York: Morrow, 1999.

The story of the ex-operative whose blend of artistry and insight saved many lives in the field.

Ludwell Lee Montague

General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence.

University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992.

The biography of the DCI credited with defining the Agency's structure and mission in its early years.

Floyd L. Paseman

A Spy’s Journey: A CIA Memoir

St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2004

A fine candid account of how a young man comes to join the CIA’s clandestine service, raise a family, and rise to high position after a number of careers ups and downs.

Joseph E. Persico

Casey: From the OSS to the CIA.

New York: Viking Penguin, 1990.

The biography of William J. Casey, Director of Central Intelligence from 1981 to 1987.

David Atlee Phillips

The Night Watch: 25 Years of Peculiar Service.

New York: Atheneum, 1977.

The memoirs of a senior CIA operations officer whose career involved many of the Agency's most important covert activities.

Thomas Powers

The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979.

An account of the evolution of CIA as seen in the professional career of Richard Helms, from his OSS service in World War II through his years as Director of Central Intelligence from 1966-1973.

John Prados

Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

The story of the career of the former OSS officer and Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby, who served during a controversial period in the Agency's history.

Evan Thomas

The Very Best Men--Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Written by the first "outsider" allowed to see the CIA's own secret histories of its operations in the first twenty years of its existence. This book relates how the Agency saw itself through the eyes of the men who made the history.

George Tenet

At the Center of the Storm.

New York: HarperLuxe, 2007.

The controversial memoir by the DCI whose tenure spanned 9/11, the fall of the Taliban, the Iraq WMD debate, and the first phase of the war in Iraq.

Stansfield Turner

Secrecy and Democracy--The CIA in Transition.

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.

The author reviews his controversial tenure as DCI under President Carter. He discusses the problems involved in operating a secret intelligence organization in a democratic society.

Markus Wolf

Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Great Spymaster.

New York: Random House, 1997.

The story of the head of the East German foreign intelligence service, one of the most professional and successful opponents faced by the CIA.


Women in Intelligence

Sarah Helm

A Life In Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE

London: Little Brown, 2005

In the “man’s world” of WWII European intelligence, Atkins rose quickly to a key position in Britain’s Special; Operations Executive (SOE) selecting agents and sending them to Europe. After the war she went searching for those who hadn't returned. This book tells her story.

Mary S. Lovell

Cast No Shadow: The Life of the American Spy Who Changed the Course of World War II.

New York: Pantheon Books, 1992.

The story of Amy Elizabeth Thorpe Pack who spied for the British Security Coordination and the Office of Strategic Services. Her work led to the acquisition of the Italian and French naval ciphers prior to America's landing in North Africa and other critical data.

Melissa Boyle Mahle

Denial and Deception: An Insider’s View of the CIA from Iran-Contra to 9/11

New York, Nation Books, 2004

The author was a successful operations officer in the CIA’s clandestine service. In he book she tells how that came about, what the training was like, and share some of her experiences in espionage.

Elizabeth P. McIntosh

Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS.

Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Veteran of the OSS, Elizabeth McIntosh relates her own experiences and those of fellow OSS women in this book that reveals interesting stories and long kept secrets from WWII.

Judith Pearson

Wolves At The Door : The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy

Guildford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2005

Pearson tells the story of American Virginia Hall who became first a British agent with the French resistance, then an OSS officer behind the Nazi lines, and finally a CIA officer. All this despite the slight handicap of her wooden leg. She was the only women in WWII to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

Tammy M. Proctor

Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War.

New York: New York University Press, 2003.

This book examines several important but little known espionage cases involving female spies during WWI.

Margaret Rossiter

Women in the Resistance.

New York: Praeger, 1991.

Stories of the Allied women who were part of the WWII resistance movement behind German lines.

Elizabeth R. Varon

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy

New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

New details from archives highlight this biography of this very successful Union agent who lived in the South.


Operations: Counterintelligence

Pete Earley

Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames.

New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1997.

The most complete story of the Aldrich Ames spy case.

William Hood


New York: W. W. Norton, 1987.

This story about a Russian mole in the Soviet military intelligence service and his CIA case officer illustrates the use of tradecraft in espionage.

William R. Johnson

Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad: How To Be A Counterintelligence Officer

Bethesda, MD: Stone Trail; Press, 1987

The single best introductory book on the subject. Written by a professional of particular merit, it covers all the basics of counterintelligence.

Robert Lindsey

The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage.

London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.

The story of Christopher Boyce and Andrew Lee, whose espionage compromised satellite collection capabilities.

David C. Martin

Wilderness of Mirrors

New York: Bantam Books, Inc. 1980.

A controversial yet thought-provoking treatment of some well-known intelligence cases from a counterintelligence perspective.

David Wise

The Spy Who Got Away: The Inside Story of Edward Lee Howard, the CIA Agent Who Betrayed His Country's Secrets and Escaped to Moscow.

New York: Random House, 1988.

The story of a former CIA agent who went to the other side.

David Wise

Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI’s Robert Hanssen Betrayed America.

New York: Random House, 2002.

The story of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen's life as a spy and the government's hunt to capture him.


Operations: Espionage

Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin

The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB.

New York: Basic Books, 1999

This book is based on KGB archival documents describing people and operations in the West from the 1920s to 1984. There is much new here; spies are exposed, operations described and KGB procedures detailed. A monumental contribution to Cold War espionage history.

Christopher Andrew and Vasli Mitrokhin

The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB Battle For the Third World

New York: Basic Books, 2005

This is the second volume based on Mitrokhin’s documents stolen from the KGB archives and leaves no doubt as to Soviet strategic objectives in the Third World.

Milt Bearden and James Risen

The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB

New York: Random House, 2003

A best treatment in one book of the Aldrich Ames and Roberts Hanssen cases, CIA operations in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, and the career of a well-known case officer.

James H. Critchfield

Partners At The Creation: The Men Behind Postwar Germany's Defense and Intelligence Establishments.

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004.

The story of how CIA post WWII assisted Germany in establishing their foreign intelligence service.

Christopher Felix [pseudonym for James McCarger]

A Short Course in the Secret War.

New York: Dell Books, 1988.

Second edition. (revised)

A textbook of basic espionage techniques, tradecraft, and day-to day operations in the world of spies.

David E. Murphy, Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey

Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War.

New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Definitive account of intelligence operations in Berlin written by a trio of insiders, Murphy (CIA), Kondrashev (KGB) and Bailey (journalist and intelligence officer). The authors had access to CIA and KGB archives.

Harry A. Rositzke

CIA's Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action.

Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988.

Candid review of Agency clandestine activities during the first 30 years of the Cold War by a former CIA operations officer.

Jerrold L. Schechter and Peter Deriabin

The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War.

New York: Scribner's, 1992.

The story of how Col. Oleg Penkovsky, a GRU officer working jointly for the CIA and the British, passed secrets about the Soviet missile program to the U.S. in the early 1960's. Penkovsky's efforts were instrumental in shaping the response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Schechter had access to newly declassified CIA files on Penkovsky.

Benjamin Weiser

A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country.

New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

The biography of the Polish Army Colonel who became the CIA's most important asset during the tumultuous Solidarity period.


Operations: Covert Action

Kenneth J. Conboy

Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia, 1957-1958.

Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.

An examination of an early covert action operation in Indonesia.

Kenneth J. Conboy and James Morrison

The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet.

Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002.

The story of CIA's involvement in Tibet's revolt against China.

William J. Daugherty

Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency

Lexington, KY: 2004.

An experienced covert action operations officer tells what today’s covert actions involve and how they work under the constraints imposed by Congress.

Roy Godson

Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards: U.S. Covert Action and Counterintelligence.

Washington: Brassey's, 1996.

Godson takes a look at counterintelligence and covert action during the past 45 years. Though both elements aren't always grouped together, this book establishes the author's opinion that the combination of the two helped this country achieve many objectives not possible through conventional means.

Frank Holober

Raiders of the China Coast: CIA Covert Operations During the Korean War (Special Warfare Series).

Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.

The world of clandestine partisan operations during the Korean War.

Cord Meyer

Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA.

New York: Harper & Row, 1980.

The story of the career of a Yale graduate and World War II Marine hero whose postwar idealism finally brought him to the CIA, where he became a senior operations officer and head of its covert action operations.

John Prados

Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA.

Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006.

A recently revised version of Prados's comprehensive, critical overview of U.S. presidents' reliance on Agency and military covert actions to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Kermit Roosevelt

Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran.

New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1979.

Story of the Agency's most notorious covert action that involved the coup that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in August 1953. Roosevelt, one of the Agency's Iranian experts, was in charge of the operation.



Sam Adams

War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir.

South Royalton, Vermont: Steerforth Press, 1994.

The story of a well-documented controversy between Sam Adams and the Pentagon.

Carol Dumaine and L. Sergio Germani (eds.)

New Frontiers of Intelligence Analysis: Shared Threats, Diverse Perspectives, New Communities

Washington, DC: Sherman Kent School, Central Intelligence Agency, 2005.

These imaginative articles discus various analytic techniques and concepts that suggest ways current practices can be improved, and the problems of dealing with vast amounts of open source and classified data.

Ben B. Fischer

At Cold War's End: U.S. Intelligence on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1989-1991.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1999.

A look at intelligence gathered at the end of the cold war.

Harold P. Ford

CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes 1962-1968.

Washington, D.C.: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1998.

Three case studies show how policymakers used CIA intelligence during the Vietnam War.

Roger Z. George and James B. Bruce, eds.

Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations.

Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008.

A collection of insightful articles by experts inside and outside the Agency dealing with the history, practice, and purposes of intelligence analysis.

Gerald K. Haines and Robert E. Leggett, eds.

CIA's Analysis of the Soviet Union 1947-1991.

Washington, D.C.: CIA History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2001.

A look at CIA's analytical performance during the Cold War through recently declassified documents.

John Helgerson

Getting to Know the President: CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992.

Washington, DC: Center for Study of Intelligence, CIA, 1995.

A look at how Agency briefers attempt to adapt their briefings to the experience, priorities and working patterns for each president.

Richards J. Heuer, Jr.

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2000

An examination of the analytical thought process.

Sherman Kent

Strategic Intelligence for American World Policy.

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966.

A look at analysis and the theory and practice of intelligence, written in 1949 by an OSS veteran and Yale professor who helped establish CIA's Board of National Estimates in 1950 and led that office for many years.

Woodrow J. Kuhns

Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years.

Washington, D.C. : Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1997.

CIA's production of analysis in the early years of the cold war.

Donald P. Steury, ed.

Intentions and Capabilities: Estimates on Soviet Strategic Forces, 1950-1983. [PDF 43MB*]

Washington, D.C.: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1996.

A look at Intelligence Community estimates on the strength of the former Soviet Union.

Donald P. Steury, ed.

Sherman Kent and the Board of National Estimates: Collected Essays.

Washington, D.C.: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1996.

The collected writings of the father of intelligence analysis and estimates.



James Bamford

Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century

New York: Doubleday, 2001

A follow-on to his book, The Puzzle Palace, Bamford updates the organizational and technical changes that have occurred and adds the closest look yet at the USS Liberty shooting incident.

James Bamford

The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency.

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1982.

A journalistic account of the history of NSA.

Michael R. Beschloss

Mayday: Eisenhower, Khruschev and the U-2 Affair.

New York: Harper & Row, 1986.

An in-depth look at the personalities, politics and events surrounding the shoot down of the U-2 plane on May 1, 1960.

Dino Brugioni

Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

New York: Random House, 1990.

An "I was there" account by one of the CIA's senior photo-interpreters. This book details the importance of technical collection and how policymakers use intelligence.

William Burrows

Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security.

New York: Random House, 1986.

Journalist Burrows surveys the American overhead reconnaissance program.

Dwayne Day, John M. Logsdon, and Brian Latell, eds.,

Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites.

Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.

A collection of essays dealing with the technical, political, and strategic aspects of the United States' first espionage satellite program.

H. Keith Melton

Ultimate Spy

London & New York: Dorling Kindersley, Ltd., 2002 (2nd ed).

A pictorial history of tradecraft devices and how they were used.

H. Keith Melton

CIA Special Weapons and Equipment: Spy Devices of the Cold War.

New York: Sterling Publishing, 1993.

The "tools of the trade" from one of the largest private collections of spy devices in the world.

Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach

The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974.

Washington, D.C.: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1998.

The well documented declassified official history of Agency's first manned overhead reconnaissance program.

Chris Pocock

50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the "Dragon Lady"

Atlen, PA; Schiffer Military History, 2005

A fine book about the spy plane that made intelligence history.

Ben R. Rich with Leo Janos

Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed.

New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1994.

A history of the U-2, the SR-71 (Black-bird), and the stealth fighter with a bureaucratic melody underlying the astounding success of Lockheed's most famous secret division.

David Robarge


Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2007.

A brief official history of the Agency's innovative spyplane, based largely on newly declassified documents.

Kevin Ruffner, ed.

CORONA: America's First Satellite Program. [18.4MB*]

Washington, DC: CIA History Staff, 1995.

A collection of declassified documents and imagery from the CORONA program.

Sherry Sontag

Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage.

New York: Public Affairs, 1998.

Little known tales of underwater espionage.

Phillip Taubman

Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003.

A good overview of the technological advances in aerial and satellite reconnaissance in the 1950s and 1960s.


War On Terrorism

Steve Coll

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.

New York: Penguin Press, 2004.

An examination of the military, political, and intelligence events leading up to 9/11.

Thomas H. Kean, Chair

The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Authorized Edition

New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004; hardbound with index. Also available at [external link disclaimer]

An investigation and analysis of the facts and incidents that led to 9/11, with recommendations for organizational changes that eventually led to t he creation of the Director of National; Intelligence.

Sundri Khalsa

Forecasting Terrorism: Indications of Proven Analytic Techniques

Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press: 2004.

A book for beginners on what to look for when thinking about potential terrorist acts.

Peter Lance

1000 Years for Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI – The Untold Story

New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

A well documented account of the events leading up to 9/11 with emphasis on the role of the FBI.

Marc Sageman

Understanding Terror Networks

Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

This former CIA analyst gives a very readable account of the fundamentals of terrorist networks.

Gary Schroen

First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan

New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.

Within hours of the 9/11 attacks, Gary Schroen was planning to take a team to Afghanistan to support the resistance and assess the situation on the ground. This book is his firsthand account of those 40 days.

Stansfield Turner

Terrorism and Democracy

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991

Former DCI Turner lays out his views on what would become the nations number one threat after 9/11.

Lorenzo Vidino with a Foreword by Steven Emerson

Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of International Jihad

Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006

A view of al-Qaeda from various national perspectives with a discussion of how each plans to deal with the threat.


General Interest

Martin S. Alexander

Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances and Coalitions from 1914 to the Cold War (Cass Series-Studies in Intelligence).

London; Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1998.

A study on how intelligence is used to understand allies as well.

David M. Barrett

The CIA And Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy

Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas, 2005

A well documented treatment of the sometimes stormy relationship between the law makers and the early intelligence community.

Bruce D. Berkowitz and Allen E. Goodman

Best Truth: Intelligence in the Information Age

New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000

The authors look at the problems in today’s intelligence community and suggest what can be done to correct the problems they identify.

Peter Berkowitz (ed.)

The Future of American Intelligence

Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005

This book contains a series of provocative articles that make suggestions for the future on a broad range topics from intelligence and the Congress, to counterintelligence, basic espionage, counterinsurgency intelligence, and the problems that come with major reorganizations.

Allen Dulles

The Craft of Intelligence.

New York: Harper and Row, 1963.

Dulles presents the history of intelligence, describes techniques of espionage and counterespionage, and discusses the role of intelligence in international events from World War II through 1961.

John J. Fialka

War By Other Means: Economic Espionage in America.

New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

An examination of American industry in the post-cold war world becoming the target of foreign governments and corporations seeking to drain its brains and technology.

Ben B. Fischer

A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1997.

An examination of a potentially perilous time in cold war history.

Ben B. Fischer

Okhrana: The Paris Operations of the Russian Imperial Police.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1997.

An exploration into the workings of the Russian Imperial Police in the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Jan Goldman

Ethics of Spying

Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006

A collection of articles looking at the elements of ethical behavior and asking whether there is any reason that a intelligence professional, as opposed, for example, to a doctor or politician, should have difficulty behaving ethically?

Oleg Gordievsky and Christopher Andrew

KGB, The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev.

New York: Harper Collins, 1990.

A history of the KGB and the career of one of its senior officers who for eleven years was one of the West's most important spies.

Frederick P. Hitz

The Great Game: The Myth and Reality of Espionage.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.

A contrasting look between the reality versus the fictional treatment of espionage from a former CIA officer's point of view.

Pat M. Holt

Secret Intelligence and Public Policy: A Dilemma of Democracy

Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1995

A former staff member of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Pat Holt offers practical advice on basic intelligence and about how intelligence and the Congress should function. constructively.

Loch Johnson and James Wirtz (eds.)

Strategic Intelligence: Windows Into a Secret World—An Anthology

Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2004.

A collection of articles that discuss the major issues of strategic intelligence—covert action, espionage, liaison with foreign services, and the problems of politicalization.

Scott Koch and Brian D. Fila

Our First Line of Defense, Presidential Reflections.

Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1996.

A compilation of presidential opinions on U.S. intelligence.

Walter Laqueur

A World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence.

New York: Basic Books, 1985.

This work takes a critical look at how intelligence is used to understand foreign events that may affect the U.S.

Mark M. Lowenthal

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy.

Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2006. (3rd ed.)

An informative discussion about intelligence and the intelligence community.

Count de Alexandre Marenches

The Fourth World War: Diplomacy and Espionage in the Age of Terrorism.

New York: William Morrow and Company, 1992.

Count de Alexandre de Marenches, the longest serving chief of French Intelligence gives a long-range forecast for the future of intelligence gathering.

Mark Riebling

Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

The title refers to the arbitrary division between domestic counterintelligence activity and foreign counterintelligence which created a "fundamentally flawed intelligence system."

Jennifer Sims and Burton Gerber (eds.)

Transforming Intelligence

Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

An academic and a intelligence professional present a very interesting collection of articles on various topics from the ethics to the operational problems associated with intelligence.

Britt Snider

The Agency and the Hill: CIA's Relations with Congress, 1946-2004.

Washington, D.C.: CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2008.

A study of the CIA's relationship with Congress.

Athan Theoharis, Richard Immerman, Loch Johnson, Kathryn Olmsted, and John Prados

The Central Intelligence Agency: Security under Scrutiny

Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006

A look at the CIA since its inception, with entries on its leaders and more on the various successes and controversies that are part of its history.

Ralph Edward Weber, ed.

Spymasters: Ten CIA Officers in Their Own Words.

Wilmington, Del: SR Books, 1999.

Ten former top-ranking CIA officers give their perspectives on the American intelligence world, its practices and the issues it faces.



Rodney P. Carlisle, (ed.)

Encyclopedia of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 2 volumes

Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006

Includes short commentary on the famous and important cases of espionage and gives the student a basis for further research. As with all encyclopedias, important details are sometimes in error and should be checked before citing.

George Constantinides

Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography

Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983

Though somewhat out of date, this remains a fine bibliography with crisp incisive comments for many important books.

Charles E. Lathrop

The Literary Spy: The Ultimate Source for Quotations on Espionage and Intelligence

New Haven: CT: Yale University Press, 2004

This unique book offers 3,000 quotations on the intelligence profession arranged in 64 categories.
G. J. A. O'Toole

The Encyclopedia of American Intelligence and Espionage

New York: Facts on File, 1988.

Compendium of the people, events, terms and tools that played a role in the history of intelligence in America.

Neal H. Petersen

American Intelligence, 1775-1990: A Bibliographical Guide

Claremont, CA: Regina Books: 1992

The most comprehensive bibliographic treatment of the topic with entries in categories for easier identification. Though not annotated, this volume gives a good idea of what was available until the end of the Cold War.

Dan C. Pinck, Geoffrey M.T. Jones, and Charles T. Pinck

Stalking the History of the Office of Strategic Services: An OSS Bibliography.

Boston: The OSS/Donovan Press, 2000.

A comprehensive guide to books about the OSS.

Norman Polmar

Spy Book:The Encyclopedia of Espionage

New York: Random House, 2004

By far the best of the espionage encyclopedias, though not without some relatively small detail errors.

The Honorable Laurence H. Silberman and The Honorable Charles S. Robb (co-chairmen).

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction: Report to the President of the United States

(Washington, DC: GPO, 2005). Also available at [external link disclaimer]

Every aspect of intelligence operations, analysis, and support, is examined in an effort to determine why estimates concluded WMD existed in Iraq when none were ever found.

United States Department of State

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment.

Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1996.

A definitive collection of declassified documents on the events and legislation that created CIA.

Bruce W. Watson

United States Intelligence: An Encyclopedia.

New York: Garland Publishers, 1990.

Listing of terms and events pertinent to the world of intelligence gathering.


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Posted: Apr 21, 2007 09:05 PM
Last Updated: Jul 08, 2008 07:15 AM
Last Reviewed: Apr 21, 2007 09:05 PM