10 books like Nazi Spies in America

By William Breuer,

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

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The Nazi Spy Ring in America

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones,

Book cover of The Nazi Spy Ring in America: Hitler's Agents, the FBI, and the Case That Stirred the Nation

This is a sort of origin story for Breuer's characters, centered more tightly on a mid-1930s Nazi ring uncovered by the FBI's best investigator, Leon Turrou, and splashed across American newspapers’ front pages in 1938. Jeffreys-Jones' book, released in 2020, also shows why multi-stranded nonfiction has become a popular form.

The Nazi Spy Ring in America

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the mid-1930s, just as the United States was embarking on a policy of neutrality, Nazi Germany launched a program of espionage against the unwary nation. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones's fascinating history provides the first full account of Nazi spies in 1930s America and how they were exposed in a high-profile FBI case that became a national sensation.


Sisterhood of Spies

By Elizabeth P McIntosh,

Book cover of Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS

McIntosh takes a fresh approach to espionage, putting aside the trench coats and Mata Haris for the real "Code-room Mata Hari" and other little-known heroines of the war. A veteran of CIA and OSS operations herself, McIntosh knows what she's writing about, and draws from more than 100 interviews with other women operatives. She portrays several dozen here, including the China escapades of Julia McWilliams (known today as Julia Child). It also features the Musac project, with broadcasts targeted at Wehrmacht troops with fake German news and music sung by agent Marlene Dietrichn designed to infiltrate their sympathies.

Sisterhood of Spies

By Elizabeth P McIntosh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The daring missions and cloak-and-dagger skullduggery of America's World War II intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), are well documented and have become the stuff of legend. Yet the contributions of the four thousand women who made up one-fifth of the OSS staff have gone largely unheralded. Here for the first time are their fascinating stories, told by one of their own.

A seasoned journalist and veteran of sensitive OSS and CIA operations, Elizabeth McIntosh draws on her own experiences and in-depth interviews with more than one hundred OSS women to uncover some of the most tantalizing stories…


Lisbon

By Neill Lochery,

Book cover of Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945

I grew up with lots of stories and books about WWII because my father was a veteran. What is different about this book’s narrative is Portugal’s position of neutrality during the Second World War and the resulting web of political intrigue. Salazar, Portugal’s dictator at the time, played both sides, aligning with the British, all the while selling off Portugal’s Tungsten, a metal used to produce armor-piercing projectiles (which apparently melted the British tanks), to the Germans for gold that the Nazi’s looted. And at the end of the war, all that gold helped Portugal emerge economically intact. 

Lisbon

By Neill Lochery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lisbon had a pivotal role in the history of World War II, though not a gun was fired there. The only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis power operated openly, it was temporary home to much of Europe's exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the U.S., and a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, and black marketeers. An operations officer writing in 1944 described the daily scene at Lisbon's airport as being like the movie Casablanca," times twenty. In this riveting narrative, renowned…


Finks

By Joel Whitney,

Book cover of Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers

Whitney gives a literary coda to World War II cloak-and-dagger, showing how its nests of spies and agencies pivoted and metastasised in the years afterward into the Cold War. The CIA took up where the OSS left off. Where Graham Greene and Kim Philby had run the haunts of Lisbon, then-young writers George Plimpton and Peter Matthiessen were cajoled to produce cultural propaganda in Paris and start the Paris Review. The CIA's literary operations continued into the 1960s when it launched a whispering campaign to prevent Pablo Neruda from receiving a Nobel prize, and launched Mundo Nuevo to engage Spanish-language readers.

Finks

By Joel Whitney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When news broke that the CIA had colluded with literary magazines to produce cultural propaganda throughout the Cold War, a debate began that has never been resolved. The story continues to unfold, with the reputations of some of America's best-loved literary figures-including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, and Richard Wright-tarnished as their work for the intelligence agency has come to light.

Finks is a tale of two CIAs, and how they blurred the line between propaganda and literature. One CIA created literary magazines that promoted American and European writers and cultural freedom, while the other toppled governments, using assassination and censorship…


Night Soldiers

By Alan Furst,

Book cover of Night Soldiers

God help me, along with my fascination with espionage I am a history buff. I long to discover how things became what they are today and Furst does it in this series. While seeing the forces that launched the Second World War unfold, he shows you see the seeds sown for the cold war that follows. While I picked book one from my bias toward watching a world being born, all the books in the series are a great read.

Night Soldiers

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin's purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934-45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a…


Roosevelt's Secret War

By Joseph E. Persico,

Book cover of Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage

If you love reading the history of World War II espionage, Persico brings to life behind-the-scenes maneuvers that took America from an unwieldy group of intelligence-gathering organizations to the formidable Office of Strategic Services under Wild Bill Donovan. While examining all theaters of World War II rather than just the Third Reich, the author provides excellent insights into the specific challenges encountered in Hitler's realm. I particularly enjoyed learning how Roosevelt balanced the information coming from many sources and integrated that knowledge into an intelligent plan of action.

Roosevelt's Secret War

By Joseph E. Persico,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roosevelt's Secret War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite all that has already been written on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Persico has uncovered a hitherto overlooked dimension of FDR's wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations.

Roosevelt's Secret War is crowded with remarkable revelations:
-FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector from Hitler's inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office
-Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler's plan to invade Russia
-Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers' lives in order to protect Ultra, the British codebreaking secret
-An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with…


Dark Star

By Alan Furst,

Book cover of Dark Star

As the first in his series of novels on the 1930s in Europe, Alan Furst's Night Soldier tends to earn the most critical praise, but Dark Star remains my personal favoriteFurst masters the noir ambiance and moral ambiguity of Europe as war approaches, where everyday people are drawn into the world of espionage and intrigue. His settings often lie outside the main urban centers of Paris and Berlin in the remote reaches of Eastern Europe. Furst's novels are impeccably researched for accurate detail-one of my must-haves in historical fiction-and each book will draw you to read the next in his series.

Dark Star

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Andre Szara, survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars, is a journalist working for Pravda in 1937. War in Europe is already underway and Szara is co-opted to join the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence agency. He does his best to survive the tango of pre-war politics by calmly obeying orders and keeping his nose clean. But when he is sent to retrieve a battered briefcase the plot thickens and is drawn into even more complex intrigues.

Szara becomes a full-time spymaster and as deputy director of a Paris network, he finds his own star rising when…


Spy/Counterspy

By Dusko Popov,

Book cover of Spy/Counterspy: The Autobiography of Dusko Popov

Dusko Popov may or may not have been a model for James Bond, but he did know Ian Fleming. He was also one of the most effective double agents in World War II. His greatest accomplishment was helping to fool the Germans about the location of the D-Day landing. Popov had conclusive evidence that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor months before it happened. He told FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, because the US didn't have an effective spy system yet, but Hoover wasn’t interested. After the war ended, Popov searched for his best friend who had been captured by the Germans, with surprising results. Good for history junkies like me, it contains facts not present in other histories of the War.

Spy/Counterspy

By Dusko Popov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Very good condition. Minor rubbing to extremities, otherwise nice clean copy.


Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents

By Carole P. Roman,

Book cover of Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents: A World War II Book for Kids

Carole P. Roman has hit a home run with this nonfiction book. It paints an intriguing picture of the life of spies during World War II. Roman details the training, weapons, and tools used in spy craft. I found the chapters featuring biographical portraits fascinating. Chef Julia Child and author Graham Greene operated undercover. Roman discusses double agents and the Native Americans who broke the Japanese code. I would recommend this book to children who love adventure, espionage, and history. It’s a perfect read for middle-grade students, but an eye-opener for adults as well.

Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents

By Carole P. Roman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Uncover the secret agents of World War 2—an exciting history book for kids 8 to 12

Discover World War 2’s hidden heroes and villains. Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents explores the intriguing world of spycraft and shows you what goes on behind the scenes in war.

From spy schools and ciphers to sneaky tools and secret armies, this guide takes you on a declassified tour of the undercover operations that helped decide the outcome of World War 2. There’s also more than a dozen short spy-ographies that cover some of the most famous (and infamous!) agents that were active…


The Secret War

By Max Hastings,

Book cover of The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945

An amazing storyteller and unrivalled expert on World War II, Sir Max is best in class when it comes to combining the big and little pictures. He renders pithy judgments on thorny subjects. This may be the best overview of intelligence from east to west, north to south in World War II. Again like David Kahn and Christopher Andrew, Sir Max is generous to fellow writers and gracious to readers. I remember a talk at a Washington, DC bookstore to which a reader brought a stack of Hastings books—perhaps 10 or so—for his autograph. Sir Max did not hesitate, cheerfully reaching for his pen.

The Secret War

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'As gripping as any spy thriller, Hastings's achievement is especially impressive, for he has produced the best single volume yet written on the subject' Sunday Times

'Authoritative, exciting and notably well written' Daily Telegraph

'A serious work of rigourous and comprehensive history ... royally entertaining and readable' Mail on Sunday

In The Secret War, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and extraordinary sagas of intelligence and Resistance to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history. The book links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant…


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