10 books like Bridge of Spies

By Giles Whittell,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Bridge of Spies. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

This is a book principally about Kim Philby, the once head of Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union who was exposed as a double agent. There's a lot about this master spy’s activities in the Lebanese capital in the lead-up to his defection to Moscow from there in January of 1963. In 1960 Philby made a tour of the Middle East to write some articles, including stopping in Kuwait which inspired some of the action in my own book. I love any work by Ben Macintyre but this book appealed to me especially. It’s got some great photos in it and, trite as it sounds, I couldn’t put it down.

A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Spy Among Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and…


The Cold War

By Odd Arne Westad,

Book cover of The Cold War: A World History

This is a thick history of the Cold War that breaks new ground in that it shifts the emphasis from Europe, where the Cold War started and ended, to the Third World where it was actually fought in a bloody manner through a series of proxy wars, large and small.

The Cold War

By Odd Arne Westad,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Odd Arne Westad's daring ambition, supra-nationalist intellect, polyglot sources, masterly scholarship and trenchant analysis make The Cold War a book ofresounding importance for appraising our global future as well as understanding our past' Richard Davenport-Hines, TLS, Books of the Year

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the…


One Minute to Midnight

By Michael Dobbs,

Book cover of One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

Back in October 2012, I organized the 50th-anniversary conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis for The Cold War Museum and George Mason University. Michael Dobbs was one of the panelists along with Sergei Khrushchev and Dino Brugioni. It was great to hear Michael Dobbs talk about his book and the research he did to bring this history alive. It was an honor and privilege to join him again in October 2022 as a co-panelist for the DIA’s 60th-anniversary conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a result of his research, this book was named as one of five non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post and is an hour-by-hour account of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

One Minute to Midnight

By Michael Dobbs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One Minute to Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

October 27, 1962, a day dubbed Black Saturday in the Kennedy White House. The Cuban missile crisis is at its height, and the world is drawing ever closer to nuclear apocalypse.

As the opposing Cold War leaders, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, mobilize their forces to fight a nuclear war on land, sea and air, the world watches in terror. In Bobby Kennedy's words, 'There was a feeling that the noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind, and that the bridges to escape were crumbling.'

In One Minute to Midnight Michael Dobbs brings a fresh…


1946

By Victor Sebestyen,

Book cover of 1946: The Making of the Modern World

The year 1946 marked a turning point in world affairs: the Cold War began, the state of Israel was conceived and the independence of India was all but decided upon. It was also the year in which the Chinese Communists gained the upper hand in their fight for power.

Historian and foreign correspondent, Victor Sebestyen, draws on contemporary archival documents to analyse the behind-the-scenes political decision-making. His book is particularly interesting for its wide-reach: the book covers London, Paris, Berlin, and the Soviet Union, as well as the US, Israel, India, and China.

1946

By Victor Sebestyen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1946 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nineteen forty-six is the year that would signal the beginning of the Cold War, the end of the British Empire, and the beginning of the rivalry between the United States and the USSR. Victor Sebestyen reveals the year’s events by chronologically framing what was taking place in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with seminal decisions made by heads of state that would profoundly change the old order forever. The map of Eastern Europe would be redrawn, Chinese communists would gain decisive victories in their fight for power, and the world would witness the birth of Israel. 1946 was a…


Molehunt

By David Wise,

Book cover of Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors That Shattered the CIA

David Wise was the dean of American espionage writers, the author of more than a dozen well-regarded books about spies before his death in 2018, and Molehunt is my favorite. It tells the story of the James Angleton-inspired to hunt for a supposed mole within the CIA, an enormously damaging affair that paralyzed the agency for years. Wise’s books are so authoritative because of the unmatched sources he had in the intelligence community.

Molehunt

By David Wise,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Molehunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Details the obsessive internal spy hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy era lead by CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton after he was lead astray by former KGB officer Anatoly Golitsin. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo. Tour.


The Spy and the Traitor

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

This is a nonfiction book that reads like a novel. It is a juxtaposition of two spies, Oleg Gordievsky, KGB, and Aldrich Ames, CIA. Gordievsky risks his life by becoming a top source for MI6 (British Intelligence) because of his moral outrage over the crimes committed by the Soviet State. Ames risks more than prison by betraying his country and causing the death of a great number of CIA sources in the Soviet Union. This is a thriller unequalled by the best espionage fiction.

The Spy and the Traitor

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spy and the Traitor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist • Shortlisted for the Bailie Giffords Prize in Nonfiction

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the…


The Night Manager

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of The Night Manager

Well, in my opinion, pick any LeCarre spy novel and you're already winning at life. The slowness with which they sometimes seem to move becomes like a morphine dripline direct into your veins, and by the time you realize exactly what sort of gray-on-gray world the characters inhabit, and what qualities at first ambiguous but later crucial allow them to act with ambiguous heroism, you'll get a true flavor of MI6.

The Night Manager

By John Le Carré,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Night Manager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Night Manager, an ex-soldier helps British Intelligence penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers.

At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.

In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal…


KGB

By Christopher Andrew, Oleg Gordievsky,

Book cover of KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev

A deeply revealing insight into the mysterious world of the Soviet secret service written as a collaboration between a top Cambridge historian and a senior KGB officer who was a double agent working for the British MI6. It tells us not only what the KGB got up to but, equally important, how the senior KGB leaders thought. It opens up the paranoia at the top of the Soviet system.

KGB

By Christopher Andrew, Oleg Gordievsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked KGB as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This history of the world's largest and most powerful intelligence service, the KGB, from its origin after the Russian revolution to the present day, analyzes its operations against subjects as diverse as the EEC, Margaret Thatcher, Solidarity and Libya. This study also provides an insight into Gorbachev's relations with the KGB and examines the disintegration of the Soviet bloc. Christopher Andrew has also written "Secret Service". Gordievsky was a KGB colonel who worked for British intelligence as a penetration agent in the KGB from 1974. He escaped to the West in 1985.


Bomb

By Steve Sheinkin,

Book cover of Bomb: The Race to Build--And Steal--The World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Many books have been written about the development of the atomic bomb, most of them more technical than the average reader wants or needs. That is why I’m recommending this book. Don’t let the “Perfect for middle grade readers” in the Amazon book description put you off. The book was factual, yet read like a spy thriller. The only thing I missed was a cast of characters in the front matter, so I created a list as I read.

Bomb

By Steve Sheinkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: when placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned three continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, risk taking, deceit, and genius that created the world's…


Venona

By Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes,

Book cover of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

This book is a true find for history buffs. It is based on the by now declassified thousands of KGB messages that were decoded by the Venona Project. It gives clear evidence of the Soviet espionage efforts by the KGB against the United States even while the two were allies in WWII. It also proves the hitherto only rumored deep penetration of Soviet assets into the United States government. In those decrypted documents there is proof that the much-maligned Senator Joseph McCarthy was more right than wrong, albeit too frenetic and sensationalist in his pursuit of communists in the US government.  

Venona

By Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Venona as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only in 1995 did the United States government officially reveal the existence of the super-secret Venona Project. For nearly fifty years American intelligence agents had been decoding thousands of Soviet messages, uncovering an enormous range of espionage activities carried out against the United States during World War II by its own allies. So sensitive was the project in its early years that even President Truman was not informed of its existence. This extraordinary book is the first to examine the Venona messages-documents of unparalleled importance for our understanding of the history and politics of the Stalin era and the early…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Soviet Union, espionage, and intelligence agency?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, espionage, and intelligence agency.

The Soviet Union Explore 251 books about the Soviet Union
Espionage Explore 124 books about espionage
Intelligence Agency Explore 91 books about intelligence agency