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Spy Book, 2nd Edition Paperback – July 13, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen describe espionage as the world's second-oldest profession, right behind prostitution. They say the two trades share much of the same allure: "Money, secrecy, sex, great public interest, and people's reputations--or lack thereof--are involved in both professions." Spies are probably the objects of greater curiosity, given their proximity to the corridors of power. And now Polmar and Allen have come up with a compendium that informs on the informers, from "A-2" (the intelligence staff of the U.S. Army Air Corps) to "Zelle, Margaretha" (Mata Hari's real name). More than 2,000 entries deliver the scoop on agencies, operations, jargon, technology, and even such fictional figures as James Bond. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up. An alphabetically arranged encyclopedia, ranging from Biblical incidences of spying to circumstances surrounding Boris Yeltsin's reelection in 1996. Interesting details about television and literary spies are included. The text is clear, and the authors' conclusions are well documented. A system of stars and small capitals indicate master entries and cross-references, respectively. The icons are better suited to a multimedia reference tool where one could more easily move through the maze of interactive text. There is an index of personalities, but no subject index. Entries on fictional spies are strictly alphabetical, so James Bond is under J and Maxwell Smart is under M. Dull, black-and-white photographs are sprinkled throughout. Mark Lloyd's The Guiness Book of Espionage (Da Capo, 1994) is not as comprehensive, but its topical organization makes it a more accessible book for beginning students of espionage and more useful for assignments. Visually appealing and easier to read, H. Keith Melton's The Ultimate Spy Book (DK, 1996) and Richard Platt's Spy (Knopf, 1996) are also better introductory works. Nevertheless, Spy Book is a solid reference source with detailed coverage for readers who are already captivated by the subject.?Margaret Tice, Brooklyn Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Reference; 2 Sub edition (July 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375720251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375720253
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
SPY BOOK, with 2500 entries packed into one big paperback, is an exceptionally handy reference tool, but still far from a complete encyclopedia of espionage. For example, a photo display on page 513 shows Soviet postage stamps honoring the intelligence officers Stanislav Vaupshasov, Rudolf Abel, Konon Molody, Richard Sorge and Ivan Kudrya, plus British agent Kim Philby. If you look for an entry on each of these men, you will find it--except for Kudrya. At the place where he should appear you will see: Kryuchkov, Vladimir... Kuczynski, Dr. Jürgen... Kuczynski, Robert René... Kuczynski, Ursula... Kuehn, Dr. Bernard... Kuklinski, Col. Ryszard... A rather full listing within such a small range of the alphabet, but still no cigar. Turn the page, and you'll discover no listing for Leonid Kvasnikov, head of the Soviet "technical department" (atomic espionage) in the US during WWII--a rather serious omission.

A quick check for other names that come to mind reveals that most are represented, but Dmitry Bystrolyotov, Pavel Fitin, Vera Goutchkoff (Guchkova) and Jan Valtin (Richard Krebs) are missing. Each scholar of espionage who comes to the book will probably add a half dozen names to this list. There is an entry on Vasili Mitrokhin, the KGB archivist who brought thousands of copied documents out to the West in 1992, but no entry for Melita Norwood, the chief British spy he exposed. (Her story broke in 1999; Mitrokin, incidentally, is given the first name "Nikitish," which was his patronymic.) There is an entry on Los Alamos, but no separate entries for the Manhattan Project, Tube Alloys or General Leslie Groves, who was not a spy but did head America's most secret wartime project. Most entries fail to conclude with a citation of the literature on the subject.
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By A Customer on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
A book of information of people, places, code names, etc. relating to spying, including very early items with descriptions and history. A query once found, leads to cross references and provokes further reading in this book, and into other books. Names well known people and their contribution to spying, and the contribution of private citizens also. Each item is well written and full of unexpected, details, history, and information. Presents code names and describes the activity for which the code was used. Very useful for anyone interested in spies and spying preceeding war time, in war time, and in peace time also.
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Format: Hardcover
Few books on spycraft or actual spy cases capture a reader as well as a spy novel. This book however
does that and more--it grabs you.

With numerous discusions of famous and not so famous spy cases, spy rings, and spys,
you will find yourself flipping through the book, tying the pieces together.
Written much like a web site, the first time an encyclopedia entry appears within another entry,
it appears in a special font. This allows the reader to flip from one story to another.

Much of the appeal of the book comes from its currency. Events as recent as the second half of 1996
made it into the book, yet there is in-depth coverage of every major exposed spy-ring throughout the 1900s.
Additionally, any spymaster of repute throughout history also receives an entry (such as Moses and George Washington).

In addition to the spys and their work, detailed information is provided about their agencies such as the KGB, MI6, and the CIA), and
the locales in which they operated (e.g., Cambridge, Berlin, and Vienna.)

I can't give a stronger endorsement to any work.
This beats Clancy, LeCarre, Fleming, and Deighton, hands down.
The saying, "Fact is stranger than fiction," is never truer than in the story where
a CIA operative created added distrust and confusion between two factions by having
his agents kill people in such a way that it appeared one faction was composed of Vampires.

Don't miss the Literary Spies section which includes information
not only on your favorite fictional spies, but also on famous authors
(such as Somerset Maugham) who actually spied themselves.

-dave medberry mailto:david.medberry@mci2000.com
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An extremely interesting spy book while gives a multitude of references and utilizes actual real life examples of covert operations, secret operatives, and how they functioned under severe pressures known only in the world of espionage!
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By A Customer on January 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book has everything anyone could want to know about spying covered in a easy encyclopedia format. Russian, American, Israeli, everything is here! Most entries also have interesting stories behind them.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was written with the cooperation of the establishment. As a result it is somewhat biased. For instance we are not told in the article about Angelton that he was kicked out for being a failure at his job. During the last 10 years of his career, every Soviet defector that he claimed was genuine was a Soviet plant. Every one he claimed was a plant was genuine. After he was fired his safe was cut open and found to contain many year old evidence that he did not act on but when followed up was used to catch several Soviet spies.
The article on Agee, who was a despicable person, falsely claims that he was the one who first revealed the identity of the Athens CIA head of station. Several heads of station had lived in the same house. Every taxi driver knew the identity. The house was the worst possible choice for a CIA person to live in. It was at the end of a dead end street and was so secluded that any illegal activities such as kidnapping or murder would go un-witnessed by others.
The author gives misleading information to the effect that once the contents of a classified photo appear in some other public photo the classified photo should be declassified. This would allow the method of taking the photo to be deduced and future photos of equipment using that method would be blocked.
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