71 books like CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices

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Here are 71 books that CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices fans have personally recommended if you like CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Puzzle Palace: A Report On NSA, America's Most Secret Agency

Jim Popkin Author Of Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy--And the Sister She Betrayed

From my list on nonfiction spy books to read in one day.

Why am I passionate about this?

I covered the FBI and CIA for years, first as a print reporter in Washington and then as the head of the NBC News investigative unit. So I have covered my fair share of spy scandals, and with my colleague Pete Williams helped NBC break the story of Robert Hanssen’s arrest. I was immediately drawn to the Ana Montes Cuba spy story when it broke and then learned that Montes had bought her condo from my close friend and college roommate, John. That meant I had spent hours inside Ana’s DC apartment, and that odd connection rooted me in her story in a deeper way.  

Jim's book list on nonfiction spy books to read in one day

Jim Popkin Why did Jim love this book?

In fairness, I could not read this 600-page-plus intelligence agency classic in one day. But I sure tried.

This book is a blockbuster, pulling back the curtain on the super-secretive National Security Agency, NSA, in a way no one has before or since. I remember the sensation this book made when it came out, and have had the honor of getting to know Jim Bamford a bit over the years.

By James Bamford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Puzzle Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this remarkable tour de force of investigative reporting, James Bamford exposes the inner workings of America's largest, most secretive, and arguably most intrusive intelligence agency. The NSA has long eluded public scrutiny, but The Puzzle Palace penetrates its vast network of power and unmasks the people who control it, often with shocking disregard for the law. With detailed information on the NSA's secret role in the Korean Airlines disaster, Iran-Contra, the first Gulf War, and other major world events of the 80s and 90s, this is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage.


Book cover of Agents of Innocence

Keith Thomson Author Of Once a Spy

From my list on spy books that will make you paranoid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played semi-professional baseball in France in 1986. If your baseball career has brought you to France, you should be rethinking your professional aspirations. No problem, I thought. I will write. I like to write. To my dismay, publishers were not fans of novels about French baseball players. The world of espionage I became acquainted with in Europe, however….

Keith's book list on spy books that will make you paranoid

Keith Thomson Why did Keith love this book?

Washington Post national security reporter Ignatius may not know the world of espionage better than anyone, but he writes about it better than anyone. Agents of Innocence is such a realistic and engaging depiction of the life of a CIA case officer that a copy of it is left in the room of each new arrival at Camp Peary, the CIA training facility. It’s about an idealistic young CIA officer posted to Beirut to penetrate the PLO, and, in the process, learns hard lessons, not least of which is that once human lives are at stake, idealism takes a back seat to pragmatism. Ultimately, it is a compelling story with terrific characters, and I would have rooted for them had they been accountants or fishmongers rather than spies

By David Ignatius,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Agents of Innocence is the book that established David Ignatius's reputation as a master of the novel of contemporary espionage. Into the treacherous world of shifting alliances and arcane subterfuge comes idealistic CIA man Tom Rogers. Posted in Beirut to penetrate the PLO and recruit a high-level operative, he soon learns the heavy price of innocence in a time and place that has no use for it.


Book cover of The Quantum Spy: A Thriller

Keith Thomson Author Of Once a Spy

From my list on spy books that will make you paranoid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played semi-professional baseball in France in 1986. If your baseball career has brought you to France, you should be rethinking your professional aspirations. No problem, I thought. I will write. I like to write. To my dismay, publishers were not fans of novels about French baseball players. The world of espionage I became acquainted with in Europe, however….

Keith's book list on spy books that will make you paranoid

Keith Thomson Why did Keith love this book?

Ignatius’s most recent novel is in many respects a mashup of books no. 1 and 2 on this list: terrific storytelling and the latest spy recent tech: You’ll conclude that it’s just a matter of time until “bad actors” (spy speak for “bad guys”) can hack your brain. At the same time, you’ll enjoy the story.

By David Ignatius,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hyper-fast quantum computer is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb; whoever possesses one will be able to shred any encryption and break any code in existence. The question is: who will build one first, the U.S. or China?

In this gripping thriller, U.S. quantum research labs are compromised by a suspected Chinese informant, inciting a mole hunt of history-altering proportions. CIA officer Harris Chang leads the charge, pursuing his target from Singapore to Mexico and beyond. Do the leaks expose real secrets, or are they false trails meant to deceive the Chinese? The answer forces Chang to question…


Book cover of The Gray Man

Ted Galdi Author Of Black Quiet: A Cole Maddox Action Thriller

From my list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written several action thrillers about main characters who defy the rules. In my opinion, the key to these stories is giving your protagonist a good cause to break the rules for. Readers don’t want to get behind someone who wreaks havoc just to entertain himself. However, readers can identify with someone who’s pursuing an admirable goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it. These stories shouldn’t motivate anyone to break the law in real life. They serve as a metaphor for going against convention to overcome obstacles. Hopefully, my books, and those of other authors, encourage people to take on challenges in ways they haven’t yet considered.  

Ted's book list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes

Ted Galdi Why did Ted love this book?

In The Gray Man, a highly skilled, former CIA operative tries to rescue a colleague and his family while various teams of elite assassins try to stop him however they can.

The Gray Man – AKA Court Gentry or Sierra Six – doesn’t follow anybody’s orders, even those of the most powerful institutions on the planet. Though rebellious, he has morals and only applies his skillset for good.

My favorite part of this book were the action scenes. I liked how big they were, but also the variety of arenas, weapons, and opponents. Also, the Gray Man takes a serious beating through the chapters. Because he’s hurt, but still kicking, the fights progressively get more challenging for him, and more dramatic.

By Mark Greaney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE FIRST GRAY MAN NOVEL FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR MARK GREANEY - now a Netflix original film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans

'Hard, fast, and unflinching-exactly what a thriller should be.' Lee Child

To those who lurk in the shadows, he's known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target.

But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these…


Book cover of American Spy

Rayna Flye Author Of Secrets, Lies, and Sneaky Spies

From my list on female codebreakers, agents, and spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always wanted to be a spy, but as I scare easily and can’t keep a secret, it was never going to happen. My respect and fascination with the intelligence community has never abated however, and I will never pass up an opportunity to engage with spy-related content. From going to spy museums across the globe to attending lectures to watching the latest entertaining (and totally unrealistic) spy flick, I love it all. I channel that love into writing humorous spy novels that feature fun, fearless females and ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios.  

Rayna's book list on female codebreakers, agents, and spies

Rayna Flye Why did Rayna love this book?

I love this book because Wilkinson takes politics, race, romance, along with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the intelligence community and wraps it up in a bow of deeply evocative writing that kept me twisted up.

Just a quick teaser to show my love of her writing: “I unlocked the safe beneath my desk, grabbed my old service automatic, and crept toward my bedroom doorway, stealthy until I was brought to grief by a Lego Duplo that stung the sole of my foot.” [Insert sobbing emoji here for how much I love this line] Her writing had me jabbing my husband every few minutes, going, “Read this. READ THIS!”

I loved that each answer solved in the book simply raised more questions, and I was left wondering if the answers were even answers in the first place. The abrupt ending is the satisfyingly frustrating icing on the…

By Lauren Wilkinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BARACK OBAMA SUMMER READING 2019 PICK

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 CENTRE FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE

'A whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love and of country' BARACK OBAMA

'There has never been anything like it' MARLON JAMES (GQ)

'A compelling read' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'Pacy and very exciting' DAILY TELEGRAPH
__________________________________

What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love?

It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War. Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also…


Book cover of A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

This is an interesting collection of essays on the history of the CIA.

A spy agency thrives on deceit and uncertainty, making plans and taking actions when the adversary also thrives on those same elements.

Arranged in chronological order, the essays cover nearly 20 different incidents, describing the challenges, uncertainties, goals, and decisions made by both high-level political decision-makers and practitioners in the field.

Topics covered include early stages in the development of the CIA (founded in 1947), including covert action against the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the Bay of Pigs (1961), the Iran-Contra affair (mid-1980s), up to more recent events with bin Laden, fake news, and more.

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Question of Standing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Question of Standing deals with recognizable events that have shaped the history of the first 75 years of the CIA. Unsparing in its accounts of dirty tricks and their consequences, it values the agency's intelligence and analysis work to offer balanced judgements that avoid both celebration and condemnation of the CIA.

The mission of the CIA, derived from U-1 in World War I more than from World War II's OSS, has always been intelligence. Seventy-five years ago, in the year of its creation, the National Security Act gave the agency, uniquely in world history up to that point, a…


Book cover of Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton - The CIA's Master Spy Hunter

Hugh Wilford Author Of The CIA: An Imperial History

From my list on history about the CIA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a British-born American historian, currently residing in Long Beach, California. I’ve published four books on the CIA and lectured about it for the Great Courses. Why spies? I’ve always loved spy novels and movies but my historical interest was piqued years ago when I stumbled across the weird story of how the CIA secretly funded various American artists and writers in the so-called Cultural Cold War. Decades on, I’m still fascinated by the subject: there’s so much human drama involved, and it’s a great lens through which to examine recent American and world history.

Hugh's book list on history about the CIA

Hugh Wilford Why did Hugh love this book?

The history of the CIA features many fascinating personalities and there are several excellent spy biographies, Thomas Powers on Richard Helms, for example, or Randall Woods on William Colby. But the most complex and compelling of all figures in the Agency’s past must surely be the legendary head of counterintelligence, James Angleton. Again, there are numerous works on Angleton and his obsessive hunt for a top-level Soviet agent in the CIA, but I enjoyed and benefited most from Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior, an astonishingly detailed and penetrating portrayal of America’s real-life George Smiley.

By Tom Mangold,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cold Warrior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A biography of the spymaster who ran the CIA's counterintelligence operation for twenty years until his downfall


Book cover of For Your Ears Only

Robin King Author Of Remembrandt

From my list on spy books for Ally Carter fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I realized I didn’t have what it takes to join the CIA, I made it my life mission to find out everything it takes to be a spy—which, of course, made it necessary to watch every show and read every espionage story ever told. In the process, I discovered a passion for uncovering truth, as well as a love of writing. After writing three young adult spy novels, I feel like I’ve found the linguist, code breaker, and crime fighter in myself. My work for LitJoy Crate has given me the ability to know a good story when I read it, and then recommend that book to book lovers everywhere.

Robin's book list on spy books for Ally Carter fans

Robin King Why did Robin love this book?

I fell in love with the main character, Loveday (no pun intended), in the first few pages. She’s strong and tough, like all spies should be, and sarcastic—which is so fun to read.

I love her motivation as a spy, but she does have one flaw: she's in love with another member of the team and has been keeping him off missions to keep him safe. This makes me like her even more because she wants to protect him. Overall, the action, explosions, love story between Loveday and Vale, and the spy world had me reading until the very end.

I can’t wait to jump into the next book in the series.

By Emily Kazmierski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For Your Ears Only as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spy caught between her duty, and her heart.

Known only to the CIA and her handler father, Loveday aspires to be the greatest teenage spy who ever lived. In a hidden bunker under a swanky hotel, she and her team train and execute missions without being noticed by the outside world.

When Loveday and her team are recruited for their first international mission, it's their big chance to prove their worth to the CIA. But when her comms specialist boyfriend, Vale lobbies for a shot at field work, Loveday is caught between duty and forbidden passion. She knows putting…


Book cover of The Company: A Novel of the CIA

Richard Powell Author Of Pact with the Devil

From my list on spy and espionage I encourage my friends to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I devoured historical works. In fact, the city librarian told my mother when I reached my teens. that I had read every book in the Children’s section on the Civil War and they recommended I get adult privileges. In my teenage years, I developed a taste for spy novels thanks to Ian Fleming. However, as I matured, I became drawn to the less gadgety stories in the genre like the books I recommend here and write myself. I have no unique expertise in the area beside a desire to learn more about the field so my own work will inform as well as entertain. 

Richard's book list on spy and espionage I encourage my friends to read

Richard Powell Why did Richard love this book?

As I mentioned before, I am a history buff. This book traces the cold war and the CIA through the lives of three wonderful characters. A loyal agent, a Russian spy, and a mole in American intelligence are all done in a way that puts you in their shoes from the Cold War’s start through the demise of the Soviet Union. Littell keeps you on the edge of your seat while teaching you what actually happened. A must-read for spy aficionados.

By Robert Littell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling spy novel The Company lays bare the history and inner workings of the CIA. This critically acclaimed blockbuster from internationally renowned novelist Robert Littell seamlessly weaves together history and fiction to create a multigenerational, wickedly nostalgic saga of the CIA-known as "the Company" to insiders. Racing across a landscape spanning the legendary Berlin Base of the '50s, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Bay of Pigs, Afghanistan, and the Gorbachev putsch, The Company tells the thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an amoral, elusive, formidable enemy-and each other-in an internecine battle within…


Book cover of The Tears of Autumn

James Stejskal Author Of A Question of Time

From my list on spies by Americans who really know the score.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a military historian and an author. To get inspiration for my writing, I spent 35 years in Special Forces (as a "Green Beret") and as a CIA officer in strange places working with interesting people. I first wrote non-fiction but I needed US Government approval for everything. So, following the saying “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,” I tell my tales as “faction”—stories reflecting a reality most people don’t know or understand. I write about “Us Versus Them”—stories about teamwork—and the result is The Snake Eater Chronicles. I leave it to the reader to decide where fact ends and fiction begins.

James' book list on spies by Americans who really know the score

James Stejskal Why did James love this book?

I love McCarry’s books because not only are they true to the genre, they are historically accurate (and often quite humorous).

Moreover, his spy “tradecraft” works because he was a deep-cover CIA officer—the ones who get shot if they’re caught. His characters are realistic, not supermen—they have feelings, fears, and families—and they struggle against enormous odds.

In Tears of Autumn, American spy Paul Christopher believes he knows who assassinated JFK, a theory that pits him against a Vietnamese family seeking revenge for the death of its patriarch, as well as his bosses in the CIA. To survive, Christopher must stay one step ahead of all of them in this totally plausible tale of political intrigue. 

By Charles McCarry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A re-release of the best-selling thriller originally published twenty years ago finds influential secret agent Paul Christopher pursuing a dangerous theory about the assassination of JFK, an investigation that threatens American foreign policy. By the author of Old Boys. 20,000 first printing.


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