81 books like Moscow X

By David McCloskey,

Here are 81 books that Moscow X fans have personally recommended if you like Moscow X. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

Larry Enmon Author Of Class III Threat

From my list on spies from a retired secret service agent.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I always wanted to be a Secret Service agent. As an adult, I became one. The job introduced me to the classified and shadowy world of national security. I traveled the globe, working in places I'd only read about in novels and meeting people who seemed like well-written characters from a book. When I was assigned as a liaison agent to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, I attended numerous FBI and CIA schools—even the facility known as The Farm. But through it all, I read! When I retired and had time to think about what I did, I figured I'd try writing.

Larry's book list on spies from a retired secret service agent

Larry Enmon Why did Larry love this book?

I have always been fascinated with WWII war stories, especially those involving intelligence operations.

Double Cross is one of the most unbelievable stories I've ever read. It's a nonfiction book that's so incredible it almost sounds like fiction. The British scored success after success against all the German intelligence services to keep the Germans guessing about dozens of Allied military activities, including the actual site of the D-Day landings.

MI6 might get all the cool James Bond movies made about it, but MI5 was the real star of this book.

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

D-Day, 6 June 1944, the turning point of the Second World War, was a victory of arms. But it was also a triumph for a different kind of operation: one of deceit, aimed at convincing the Nazis that Calais and Norway, not Normandy, were the targets of the 150,000-strong invasion force.

The deception involved every branch of Allied wartime intelligence - the Bletchley Park code-breakers, MI5, MI6, SOE, Scientific Intelligence, the FBI and the French Resistance. But at its heart was the 'Double Cross System', a team of double agents controlled by the secret Twenty Committee, so named because twenty…


Book cover of Slow Horses

Lee Goldberg Author Of Calico

From my list on humor that makes us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime stories since I was a child. They entertained me and helped me cope with a lot of family strife. My first novel was published in college and sold to the movies, which got me into screenwriting, leading to writing hundreds of hours of TV and fifty novels to date. The one thing all of my stories share is humor because I believe it’s an essential part of life–and of memorable story-telling. Humor makes characters come alive, revealing shades of personality and depths of emotion you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here are five books that taught me that it’s true and that continue to influence me as a writer. 

Lee's book list on humor that makes us human

Lee Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

Spy novels, especially the British ones, are densely plotted, densely written, densely serious stories full of politics and betrayals…without a smile to be had by the characters or the reader. The only funny ones are satires. But this book is different.

I could enjoy all the pleasures of a spy novel, with all the betrayals and plot twists, and find myself laughing even as I was caught up in the suspense and surprises. If anything, the laughs made the twists more twisty and the tragedies more tragic.

This book revitalized an entire genre for me…by knowing where to find the humor in what was always portrayed as a humorless job in a humorless world. 

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Slow Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*

'To have been lucky enough to play Smiley in one's career; and now go and play Jackson Lamb in Mick Herron's novels - the heir, in a way, to le Carre - is a terrific thing' Gary Oldman

Slough House is the outpost where disgraced spies are banished to see out the rest of their derailed careers. Known as the 'slow horses' these misfits have committed crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal while on duty.

In this drab and mildewed office these highly trained spies don't run…


Book cover of Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

Larry Enmon Author Of Class III Threat

From my list on spies from a retired secret service agent.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I always wanted to be a Secret Service agent. As an adult, I became one. The job introduced me to the classified and shadowy world of national security. I traveled the globe, working in places I'd only read about in novels and meeting people who seemed like well-written characters from a book. When I was assigned as a liaison agent to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, I attended numerous FBI and CIA schools—even the facility known as The Farm. But through it all, I read! When I retired and had time to think about what I did, I figured I'd try writing.

Larry's book list on spies from a retired secret service agent

Larry Enmon Why did Larry love this book?

For me, Argo is one of those rare finds in spy books. It is a book about an actual intelligence operation that went as planned, written by a living CIA intelligence officer who took part in it.

One of the hallmarks of intelligence operations is making the enemy believe what you want them to think. Misinformation and disinformation comprise a large part of the work, but sometimes, it all comes down to good old-fashioned deception. That's what makes Argo work.

And, hey, any book good enough to be made into a movie that wins an Oscar for Best Picture is worth my time.

By Antonio Mendez, Matt Baglio,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Argo by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio - the declassified CIA story behind the Oscar-winning film

WINNER OF 'BEST PICTURE' AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS, THE BAFTAS AND THE GOLDEN GLOBES

Tehran, November 1979. Militant students stormed the American embassy and held sixty Americans captive for a gruelling 444 days. But until now the CIA has never revealed the twist to the Iran Hostage Crisis: six Americans escaped.

The escape plot was run by Antonio Mendez, head of the CIA's extraction team and a master of disguise. Mendez came up with an idea so daring and potentially foolish that it seemed…


Book cover of The Russia House

Larry Enmon Author Of Class III Threat

From my list on spies from a retired secret service agent.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I always wanted to be a Secret Service agent. As an adult, I became one. The job introduced me to the classified and shadowy world of national security. I traveled the globe, working in places I'd only read about in novels and meeting people who seemed like well-written characters from a book. When I was assigned as a liaison agent to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, I attended numerous FBI and CIA schools—even the facility known as The Farm. But through it all, I read! When I retired and had time to think about what I did, I figured I'd try writing.

Larry's book list on spies from a retired secret service agent

Larry Enmon Why did Larry love this book?

During my time working in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, we would "throw out a line to see if anything bit." By that, I mean we'd leak information into the terrorism community to see their response.

That response often determined which direction we'd take an investigation. That's what the plot of The Russia House does. The CIA and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service get a taste of information from an inside Russian military source, but can it be believed?

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John le Carre's first post-glasnost spy novel, The Russia House captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them

Barley Blair is not a Service man: he is a small-time publisher, a self-destructive soul whose only loves are whisky and jazz. But it was Barley who, one drunken night at a dacha in Peredelkino during the Moscow Book Fair, was befriended by a high-ranking Soviet scientist who could be the greatest asset to the West since perestroika began, and made a promise. Nearly a year later, his drunken promise…


Book cover of Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames

Bryan Denson Author Of The Spy's Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia

From my list on nonfiction about turncoat American spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I knew nothing about spies – except that James Bond preferred his martinis shaken, not stirred – until 2009, when federal agents hauled Jim and Nathan Nicholson into the federal courthouse I covered as an investigative reporter for The Oregonian newspaper. Since then, I’ve taken a deep dive into the real world of spies and spy catchers, producing The Spy’s Son and writing another cool spy case into Newsweek magazine. Now I’m hooked. But with apologies to 007, I prefer my martinis stirred. 

Bryan's book list on nonfiction about turncoat American spies

Bryan Denson Why did Bryan love this book?

Pete Earley, one of America’s best spy writers, authored two excellent books on espionage: Confessions of a Spy and Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring. But for my money, the Ames book is the better of them because Earley – one helluva reporter – talked his way into a long series of exclusive interviews with the disgraced CIA officer.

Ames, who betrayed to Moscow the identities of Russian spies secretly working for the U.S. (causing at least 10 of them to be killed), gave Earley more than 50 hours of his time behind bars. He did not race to print with the story (as other authors had), but interviewed Ames’s Russian handlers and the brilliant CIA team that identified him as the mole in its midst.

By Pete Earley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of the CIA officer who was arrested in 1994 for the most serious betrayal in the history of the CIA. Ames' 20 years spying for the KGB resulted in the deaths of ten US agents and the stalling of military projects. Ames enjoyed an exotic lifestyle, while those he betrayed were tortured.


Book cover of The Spy Who Got Away

Bryan Denson Author Of The Spy's Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia

From my list on nonfiction about turncoat American spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I knew nothing about spies – except that James Bond preferred his martinis shaken, not stirred – until 2009, when federal agents hauled Jim and Nathan Nicholson into the federal courthouse I covered as an investigative reporter for The Oregonian newspaper. Since then, I’ve taken a deep dive into the real world of spies and spy catchers, producing The Spy’s Son and writing another cool spy case into Newsweek magazine. Now I’m hooked. But with apologies to 007, I prefer my martinis stirred. 

Bryan's book list on nonfiction about turncoat American spies

Bryan Denson Why did Bryan love this book?

David Wise became the first Western journalist to interview former CIA officer Edward Lee Howard, who defected to Moscow on the KGB’s dime. Wise penned a slew of excellent nonfiction spy books before his death in 2018, but I believe his keen-eyed narrative skills and vivid portrait of Cold War espionage make The Spy Who Got Away his best in show.

Wise recounts Howard’s career in the CIA, which fired him in 1983 for alleged drug abuse, and the FBI’s subsequent investigation of his illegal ties to the KGB. But his story takes a cool, cinematic turn as he describes the way Howard slipped FBI surveillance – propping up a dummy in the front passenger seat of a speeding 1979 Oldsmobile – and jumping out of the car to escape to Moscow.

Book cover of Red Widow

JJ Savaunt Author Of Barren

From my list on detecting bullsh*t.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing is my life. As a child I wrote poems, scripts, and short stories. A couple of decades, a BCALA literary award, and a three-book deal later, my wild imagination has grown into a passion for exposing the truth. In 2020, a third of the 300,000 missing women in the United States were Black, and in that same year, I was almost a victim of human trafficking myself. With this second chance, I write to bring awareness and attention to women who cannot speak for themselves. I write to shed light on the truth and these five books have helped me on my journey.  

JJ's book list on detecting bullsh*t

JJ Savaunt Why did JJ love this book?

This action-packed spy thriller kept me on edge from the first chapter mostly due to the beautiful prose, but also because it depicts the CIA in an accessible way. The book taught me to analyze people based on not their words or actions, but their intentions. Diving headfirst into the political hierarchy of the esteemed agency, this book highlights that no one—especially the co-worker you sit next to and eat lunch with every day—can be trusted. Fun and fast-paced, Red Widow drops you in a body of water and just when you think you’re in a swimming pool, you find out you’re in the ocean. 

By Alma Katsu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A wicked sharp spy novel…Equal parts Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Killing Eve.” –S. A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears

An exhilarating spy thriller written by an intelligence veteran about two women CIA agents whose paths become intertwined around a threat to the Russia Division--one that's coming from inside the agency.

Lyndsey Duncan worries her career with the CIA might be over. After lines are crossed with another intelligence agent during an assignment, she is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. So when a former colleague--now Chief of the Russia Division--recruits her for an internal investigation,…


Book cover of Agent in Place

Alan Cook Author Of East of the Wall

From my list on fiction and nonfiction about spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by history, fictional and nonfictional. Unfortunately, warfare is a large part of history and spying is an important part of warfare, and is as old as warfare itself. If you want to win the war you need to know as much as possible about what your enemy is planning to do. I am also a puzzle solver, and making and breaking codes play a large part in spying. I have traveled widely and been to most of the places I write about. However, I am a pacifist at heart, and I keep looking for the key to world peace.

Alan's book list on fiction and nonfiction about spies

Alan Cook Why did Alan love this book?

Published in 1976, this book has aged well. We are still spying on Russia, and Russia is still spying on us. Spy stories are often travelogues. This book starts in New York and Washington but then goes to France, not far from Monaco and Nice. That interested me since I've been to all of those places. The plot involves the theft of sensitive documents engineered by a Russian spy who is the agent in place of the title. People get killed, but most of the violence is off-screen. One of the interesting facets of the book is descriptions of tradecraft--showing how spies preserve their covers and prevent their enemies from unmasking them. There is also a detailed description of planning and executing a caper designed to fool the enemy.  

By Helen MacInnes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chuck Kelso is an idealist. When he steals a top-secret NATO memorandum, he only intends to leak it to the press; but it is soon in the hands of a Russian agent, a man who has spent nine years quietly working himself into the fabric of Washington society. Within hours it has reached the KGB, and the CIA's top man in Moscow has had his cover blown. For British agent Tony Lawton, hunting down the Russian operative - the 'agent in place' - is a welcome challenge. But for Chuck's brother, the journalist Tom Kelso, and his beautiful wife, Thea,…


Book cover of The Moscow Bombings of September 1999: Examinations of Russian Terrorist Attacks at the Onset of Vladimir Putin's Rule

David Satter Author Of The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin

From my list on contemporary Russia.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Satter is a leading commentator on Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is the author of five books on Russia and the creator of a documentary film on the fall of the U.S.S.R. He is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He has been a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, and an associate of the Henry Jackson Society in London.

David's book list on contemporary Russia

David Satter Why did David love this book?

The Russian apartment bombings of 1999 consolidated the criminal system put in place by Russian president Boris Yeltsin and created the conditions for Vladimir Putin to take power. In this book, Dunlop describes in meticulous detail the story of the bombings and shows that they were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) which means that they rank as the greatest political provocation since the burning of the Reichstag.

By John B. Dunlop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moscow Bombings of September 1999 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The five chapters of this volume focus on the complex and tumultuous events occurring in Russia during the five months from May through September 1999. They sparked the Russian invasion of Chechnya on 1 October and vaulted a previously unknown former KGB agent into the post of Russian prime minister and, ultimately, president. The five chapters are devoted to: * The intense political struggle taking place in Russia between May and August of 1999, culminating in an incursion by armed Islamic separatists into the Republic of Dagestan.* Two Moscow terrorist bombings of 9 and 13 September 1999, claiming the lives…


Book cover of A Diary of the Russian Revolution

Will Englund Author Of March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

From my list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a longtime Moscow correspondent, having worked there for The Baltimore Sun in the 1990s and for The Washington Post in the 2010s. It was an exciting time to be in Russia, and I couldn’t help noticing parallels between the Russian revolutions of 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. I think American policymakers, in particular, profoundly misunderstood both events. In my newspaper career, I am a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, an Oversea Press Club award, and other honors. In the fall of 2018, I taught for a semester at Princeton University.

Will's book list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution

Will Englund Why did Will love this book?

Houghteling was a young Commerce Department official who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Petrograd. He arrived in January 1917, by sleigh across the border into Russian Finland, seemingly full of American self-confidence. Traveling back and forth from Petrograd to Moscow, he was surprised at how openly Russians were talking about impending revolution, and maybe a little surprised at himself for being so taken by the country and its people. Over just weeks, from the run-up to the revolution to the collapse of the regime, his writing became less arch and more penetrating, his jokes less inane, and his perspective more complex even as he retained his optimism about Russia. Houghteling’s account features prominently in Helen Rappaport’s wonderful book from 2016, Caught in the Revolution.

By James L. Houghteling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Diary of the Russian Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. We have represented this book in the same form as it was first published. Hence any marks seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.


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