on 4 November 2010
The book is written mainly about the CIA and other American espionage effort during the Cold War period and, to some extent, since that time. The accent is on the technical, as the subtitle indicates. I found the book generally interesting, despite the emphasis on gadgetry, rather than on the more human side of intelligence and counterintelligence work.
There are a number of cases, mostly already known to me, examined in some detail in this book: Penkovsky, Tolkachev, etc. Again, the emphasis is on the tech aspects. I was interested to see that, up to the 1960's at least, the Soviet Union's technical capabilities were ahead of those of the USA in the espionage field.
I enjoyed the book, despite the very small print/typeface and despite the unremitting details of a technical nature. Some of the stories were not only new to me but reminiscent of a James Bond film, such as the "Chinese junk", sailing off Vietnam during the war, which could discard its superstructure, masts and sails to become a high-powered motor gun boat. Brilliant! Just like the conveyances of Largo or Blofeld.
There is a smalll section on the Internet etc, but that did not seeem to me to give away many details. does that mean that there is more surveillance of that medium than many suspect? Probably.
The only slight flaw and it is slight, is that there are a (very) few mistakes in Russian transliteration here and there.
on 17 July 2009
This appears to be, within the boundaries of common sense, security requirements and confidentiality, a very candid account of the behind the scenes elements of intelligence gathering and case officer support during the cold war.
Eminently readable it draws upon both original and previously published works to provide a reasonably comprehensive overview of equipment, strategic thinking and selected operations.
A book that inspires the reader to investigate more through a comprehensive listing of sources.
on 5 January 2010
I must say, that for a friend of gadgets, intelligence, history and cold war, this book was really interesting.
It was well written and easy to read, while sometimes it contained a bit too many details. I actually expected this book to concentrate more on the gadgets itself, but it contained quite a lot of basic history and politics as well.
Nevertheless, I do recommend this to anyone interested on history of intelligence, spy gadgets, cold war and so on.