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American Spies: Espionage against the United States from the Cold War to the Present Hardcover – October 28, 2013
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"I find it delightful to encounter a volume written by a professional who has walked the ground about which he writes. A must-read."―The Washington Times
"Makes real-life spy history come alive, and is highly recommended especially for public and college library American History shelves."―Midwest Book Review
"Sulick blends the historical record with his own intelligence expertise to create a nonfiction espionage thriller on par with the best of Ian Fleming and John Le Carre."―Choice
"In addition to being an interesting, well-researched, and well-written book, 'American Spies' is a thought-provoking . . . analysis of the security and counterintelligence problems the United States faces today and in the future. It should be read by anyone who has a professional or personal interest in these areas."―Proceedings
"The book is very readable; it is a history of espionage played out on American shores. The stories are long enough to be detailed but short enough to hold attention. While reading I kept hoping someone would find out about them and stop the leakage of secrets but usually they were able to spy for years undetected. I very much recommend this book as a caution to our current times."―San Francisco Book Review
"As a bibliophile who devours several lineal feet of books on espionage and intelligence each month, both for review and for pleasure, I find it delightful to encounter a volume written by a professional who has walked the ground about which he writes . . . . Albeit scholarly, it brims with details of spying that make for enjoyable reading."―The Intelligencer: Journal of US Intelligence Studies
From the Publisher
- Publisher : Georgetown University Press (October 28, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1626160082
- ISBN-13 : 978-1626160088
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Having read few earlier books on these cases, I had high expectations for this book, especially from an insider’s view. In this informative and gripping account he details the most damaging cases of espionage ever committed against USA, selected by the importance of the particular case, the agency involved or its relevance to other issues associated with espionage in US history. Altogether, their actions constituted one of the most serious security breaches in US history inflicted by Soviet/East Germany/Cuba and Israel intelligence services.
The book is organized into six parts, each with 3 to 7 chapters (27 such chapters in total), preceded by a very short preface, a comprehensive introduction and the explanation on "abbreviations". The spy cases presented follow almost the same pattern of analysis: a short spy biography and career, his/her motivations, the secrets they betrayed, their tradecraft and punishment, unrecognized indicators of their espionage and a short conclusion of the damage inflicted on US national security.
The old cases from the beginning of the Cold War show also their exposure. The exposures, however, abruptly ceased from the mid-80s to the end of the Cold War despite they were fully covered in some books or articles (Conrad spy ring by GRU colonel V. Vassiliev, Walker spy ring by KGB lt.col. Martinov - and not by his wife, Bell and Harper by V. Vetrov “Farewell”, etc).
The author is particularly engaging when writing about the penetrations of US intelligence agencies during “the decade of the spy”, the famous and familiar cases of Ames, Hanssen, Pitts, Nicholson and others. As throughout the book I found no new material, but the narrative hits high points. I liked the smooth and nice transition from one case to another.
The last two chapters deal with war on terrorism and the emerging cyberespionage/cyberwarfare threats against critical digital infrastructure. Few comments refer to the Bradley Manning and his involvement in WikiLeaks controversy and the case of the former CIA/NSA employee Edward Snowden, who belongs to the “new breed of radical technophiles”.
In the four-page Conclusion part the author addressed again the emerging espionage threats to US national security and the need in educating the public in understanding and combating this threats. The book concludes with a useful notes section, plus bibliography and index.
A major drawback in this study is the lack of any illustrations; with so many persons mentioned I found this aspect a little bit strange which makes the reading sometimes dull.
This fresh tome is an essential reading for any reader and intelligence professionals interested in the realities behind Cold War espionage. Five stars and recommended!
This volume, being supplementary to the first volume which is a history of espionage in America between the nation's birth to the Cold War, is superb and contains a lot of well known cases in which American citizens betrayed their country. The author displays not only a very good command of each case, but also analyzes in depth many cases of espionage which happened during the last sixty years. The main reason for spying was money. As Mr. Sulick writes,"American disbelief in espionage reached its heights in the decades preceding World War Two". The Soviets invested a lot of efforts to extract vital information about each facet of America, thus they were willing to pay huge amounts of money to anyone who would deliver the merchandise. The years between 1945-1970 were justly called "the Golden Age" of espionage, since the Soviets' network included spies from all walks of life, from inside and outside the government, from the highest levels to low-ranking clerks.
Elizabeth Bentley, The Rosenbergs, Harry Dexter White, Theodore Hall, the Venona Project, Aldrich Ames, Ronald Pelton, John Walker and Robert Hanssen, as well as other less famous spies people the pages of this book.
Mr. Sulick discusses in great detail the motivations of those spies, the access and the secrets they betrayed, their exposure and the punishment given to each of them and the damage they caused to the national security of the USA. One major conclusion of the author is that the Americans were extremely naive about the possibility-or rather the impossibility-of American citizens spying against their own country.
It was not all about money, and some spies had other motives, such as ego, romance, thrills and revenge.
The book is divided into six parts, and in my view the best ones are the last two which discuss panoramically the last vestiges of Cold War espionage and the spy business of the twenty-first century, where a lot of emphasis is put on the Chinese efforts to gain secrets from the USA.
The author also makes it clear that the counterintelligence services of the USA almost totally ignored the possibility of China getting involved in the Great Game. This can be due to the fact that the efforts to make it hard on spies to gather classified information were mainly devoted and focused on the Soviet Union and the Eastern block countries. For millenia, Sun Tzu's emphasis on the importance of espionage "has been a pillar of Chinese military and political strategy. His advice about using spies everywhere would be applied relentlessly in the United States in the last quarter of the twentieth century. During that period, Chinese intelligence flooded the United States with students, scientists, businessmen, and emigres from all walks of life to harvest America's political, economic and scientific secrets." One of these spies was Larry Wu-tai Chin's espionage for the Chinese regime and it lasted longer than any known American spy. Another case was that of Katrina Leung who was exposed as a double agent working for both the FBI and the Chinese.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Chinese pursued operations to infiltrate young Americans into positions of access.They were recruited on Chinese campuses.
In 2010, six out of seven cases of economic espionage involved China; estimated of losses in these cases touched the stunning figure of one billion dollars.
These days there are 140 foreign intelligence services which spy against the United States and, according to the White House officials, economic espionages cost US companies an estimated 100 billion dollars a years in lost sales.
Cyberspying is in vogue these days, while spy hunters now confront a far broader spectrum of threat from hostile states and groups, including numerous threats from terrorist organizations. Hacktivism is mainly used to manipulate data for political purposes or economic ones. It is expected that in the future, the number of cyberespionage attacks will grow and become increasingly sophisticated. These attacks could be launched by terrorists to destroy vital infrastructure systems, including the banking industry, telecommunications, electrical grids, and air traffic control.
This book, written by a former CIA couterintelligence chief, is a treat, extremely well researched and profusely documented and reads like a first rate spy novel. Highly recommended!
This book, and his first volume, is both a "must read" and a research text for anyone interested in understanding how and why espionage has affected U.S. national security and U.S. goverance.