100 books like Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents

By Carole P. Roman,

Here are 100 books that Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents fans have personally recommended if you like Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents. 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 Underground Toy Society and the Annual Toy Drive

Barbara Ann Mojica Author Of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon

From my list on for all ages to enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, grandparent, retired educator, historian, and children’s book author, I am an avid reader and advocate for children’s literacy. My forty years of experience working with children and their families gives me the background and expertise to identify high-quality books and the types of subjects that children will want to read and adults in the family will enjoy sharing with them.

Barbara's book list on for all ages to enjoy

Barbara Ann Mojica Why did Barbara love this book?

A group of toys discarded by their former owners get together to find a new home and someone to love them. I love this book because it shows children that they need to take responsibility for taking care of their possessions. By personifying these toys, kids learn how easily a friend or loved one’s feelings can be hurt. It helps them learn about empathy and compassion. Readers get the message that respecting feelings and the rights of others is a desirable trait.

By Jessica D. Adams, Janiece Adams (illustrator), Janelle M. Adams (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Underground Toy Society and the Annual Toy Drive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Underground Toy Society helps toys find new homes. Sometimes finding new homes is not easy. When Murry Mole takes a wrong turn and digs a tunnel to a toy store, they thought the toy bin would help toys find homes easier and faster. However, only new toys were allowed in the toy bin. How will forgotten toys find a home in time for Christmas?


Book cover of Alicia And The Light Bulb People

Barbara Ann Mojica Author Of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon

From my list on for all ages to enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, grandparent, retired educator, historian, and children’s book author, I am an avid reader and advocate for children’s literacy. My forty years of experience working with children and their families gives me the background and expertise to identify high-quality books and the types of subjects that children will want to read and adults in the family will enjoy sharing with them.

Barbara's book list on for all ages to enjoy

Barbara Ann Mojica Why did Barbara love this book?

What a wonderful adventure into a world of fantasy, mystery, and science fiction! While the plot and characters are well-developed, this short book is great for reluctant readers. Children love Christmas and by combining the magic of a store all decked out for the holidays with a time travel trip to a world without yesterdays or tomorrows, kids are drawn into a magical world filled with dazzling illustrations to stimulate their senses. I highly recommend the book, especially for middle-grade readers any time of the year.

By Barbara Roman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alicia And The Light Bulb People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Where do light bulbs go when they burn out? Do they stay dead forever, or can they be regenerated to live a brand new life with a brand new purpose?

If they’re lucky, they go to Star Factory 13 to become glorious stars in the sky... after they pass a rigorous personality test given by Carelia the Light Goddess, that is.

But how in the world did 10-year-old Alicia end up in Star Factory 13? All she did was go shopping with her Mother to buy a new lamp for her bedroom. Could there really have been some magic in…


Book cover of Best Ever You

Barbara Ann Mojica Author Of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon

From my list on for all ages to enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, grandparent, retired educator, historian, and children’s book author, I am an avid reader and advocate for children’s literacy. My forty years of experience working with children and their families gives me the background and expertise to identify high-quality books and the types of subjects that children will want to read and adults in the family will enjoy sharing with them.

Barbara's book list on for all ages to enjoy

Barbara Ann Mojica Why did Barbara love this book?

Sally Huss is one of my favorite picture book authors. She teams up with mindfulness coach, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino to discuss how children and adults can look within themselves to find the best person possible. Trevor looks in the water and decides he will be someone special. Different animals that he encounters show the reader the importance of qualities like patience, cooperation, thankfulness, gratitude, generosity, paying attention, and friendship. All of us could do this. I especially appreciated the certificate children can reward themselves with when they discover and later accomplish practicing these qualities.

By Sally Huss, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This classroom favorite shows kids how to be their best. Young Trevor had a desire to be the best that anybody could be. This was a huge goal, for sure! That’s when an owl flew in to suggest that he merely be “the best ever you.” Other animals are visited, each demonstrating its particular quality that Trevor could use to meet his goal: hard work, kindness, cooperation, etc. Happily, Trevor now had his work cut out for him. “I’ll do nothing less than my very best!”

This story carries a wonderful message to encourage children to cultivate their best and…


Book cover of Have You Ever Seen?

Barbara Ann Mojica Author Of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon

From my list on for all ages to enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, grandparent, retired educator, historian, and children’s book author, I am an avid reader and advocate for children’s literacy. My forty years of experience working with children and their families gives me the background and expertise to identify high-quality books and the types of subjects that children will want to read and adults in the family will enjoy sharing with them.

Barbara's book list on for all ages to enjoy

Barbara Ann Mojica Why did Barbara love this book?

I adore the Auntie Lily character who has a penchant for telling silly stories. Each of these stories composed in clever rhymes feature a silly animal doing something outrageous. Children become interactive partners visualizing and acting out the hijinks like a stork riding on a subway train or a fly that works for the FBI. The fun continues because readers get ten riddles to solve at the end of the tale. This book is fun for the whole family from preschooler to grandma!

By Sarah Mazor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Have You Ever Seen? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Have You Ever Seen? is a perfect read right before sleep, as you lighten the mood with Auntie Lily's silly rhymes and thus guarantee bedtime with a smile :)Silly Auntie LilyWho’s tall and also smallImagines silly thingsThat make no sense at allShe tells us silly storiesAnd does so all in rhyme'Cause silly Auntie Lily Is silly all the timeHave fun and help your child develop with Have You Ever Seen? - the hilarious first in the READY TO READ children's books series about funny, silly, and nonsensical situations that will have you and your kids rolling with laughter.


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

Nicholas Reynolds Author Of Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence

From my list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

The defining event in my parents’ lives, World War II has always been in my blood. When I was growing up, it would surface now and again when old comrades came to visit or when we came across souvenirs from the war. My favorite was a carefully etched German map showing sea lanes in the Caribbean, exotic and somehow menacing at the same time. My curiosity piqued, I knew I wanted to be in the thick of history—which meant reading and writing about the war, getting my PhD in history, and becoming a Marine and an intelligence officer.  

Nicholas' book list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII

Nicholas Reynolds Why did Nicholas love this book?

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.

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…


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

David A. Taylor Author Of Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II

From my list on spies and espionage in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I found the history and biography books in our school library, and was enthralled. When I got older and discovered historical archives, the tension between public history in books and the secret or forgotten histories tucked away was irresistible. Writing books has taken me to five continents on journeys into everything from medicinal black markets to the traces of a wartime commercial spy network. For my latest book, digging through classified OSS files showed me what amazing stories still lie waiting for us.

David's book list on spies and espionage in WW2

David A. Taylor Why did David love this book?

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.

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…


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

Patrick W. O'Bryon Author Of Corridor of Darkness

From my list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a graduate student and then an army interpreter in Germany, I listened to reminiscences from both Third Reich military veterans and former French resistance fighters. Their tales picked up where my father's stories of pre-war European life always ended, and my fascination with this history knew no bounds. On occasion I would conceal my American identity and mentally play the spy as I traversed Europe solo. A dozen years later upon the death of my father, I learned from my mother his great secret: he had concealed his wartime life as an American spy inside the Reich. His private journals telling of bravery and intrigue inspire each of my novels.

Patrick's book list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich

Patrick W. O'Bryon Why did Patrick love this book?

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.

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…


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

David A. Taylor Author Of Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II

From my list on spies and espionage in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I found the history and biography books in our school library, and was enthralled. When I got older and discovered historical archives, the tension between public history in books and the secret or forgotten histories tucked away was irresistible. Writing books has taken me to five continents on journeys into everything from medicinal black markets to the traces of a wartime commercial spy network. For my latest book, digging through classified OSS files showed me what amazing stories still lie waiting for us.

David's book list on spies and espionage in WW2

David A. Taylor Why did David love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of A Very Principled Boy: The Life of Duncan Lee, Red Spy and Cold Warrior

Nicholas Reynolds Author Of Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence

From my list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

The defining event in my parents’ lives, World War II has always been in my blood. When I was growing up, it would surface now and again when old comrades came to visit or when we came across souvenirs from the war. My favorite was a carefully etched German map showing sea lanes in the Caribbean, exotic and somehow menacing at the same time. My curiosity piqued, I knew I wanted to be in the thick of history—which meant reading and writing about the war, getting my PhD in history, and becoming a Marine and an intelligence officer.  

Nicholas' book list on citizen spies building American intelligence in WWII

Nicholas Reynolds Why did Nicholas love this book?

Biography, especially this riveting biography, is a great way to learn about intelligence in World War II. Bradley looks into dark corners to uncover the almost unbelievable truth about a Soviet spy in the front office of American spy chief William J. Donovan. Like James Grafton Rogers, Bradley tells us what it was like to live and work in Washington during World War II—but with another layer of intrigue and, yes, treachery. 75 years after the fact we tend to forget that a group of privileged Americans like Lee—a Rhodes Scholar and Wall Street lawyer distantly related to Robert E. Leen—once thought that communism might be a viable alternative to capitalism and the economic misery of the depression.

By Mark A. Bradley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Very Principled Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Duncan Chaplin Lee was a Rhodes Scholar, patriot, and descendent of one of America's most distinguished families,and possibly the best-placed mole ever to infiltrate U.S. intelligence operations. In A Very Principled Boy intelligence expert and former CIA officer Mark A. Bradley traces the tangled roots of Lee's betrayal and reveals his harrowing struggle to stay one step ahead of America's spy hunters during and after World War II.Exposed to leftist politics while studying at Oxford, Lee became a committed, albeit covert, member of the Communist Party. After following William Wild Bill" Donovan to the newly formed Office of Strategic Services,…


Book cover of Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

David Andrew Westwood Author Of Kelsmeath, 1940

From my list on the weirder side of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in London, and while I was born sometime after WWII, its devastation was still clear in my bombed suburb and in the stories from my family. My father and his brother served in the Royal Air Force, and an Austrian aunt had managed to escape the rest of her family's fate in Auschwitz. I've had five nonfiction books published when I decided to write a biography of my uncle David Lloyd, an RAF Spitfire pilot killed in 1942. Sadly, little information was available from his military records. All I had was a photograph of him in his plane, looking young and confident. I went on to write nine books set during WWII, and five during WWI.

David's book list on the weirder side of World War II

David Andrew Westwood Why did David love this book?

Nowhere is the phrase "stranger than fiction" more appropriate than in describing Agent Zigzag. Charming British conman Eddie Chapman turned himself into one of the best double agents his country ever produced. But for whom was he really working? None of his handlers seemed to be sure. His squirming loyalties allowed him to keep a family and a mistress, to remain alive despite interrogation by both sides, and earn an Iron Cross from Germany's Abwehr and a pardon from MI5 for blowing up a British factory. I was astonished by this tale, and left wondering if Chapman, in the end, just worked for Chapman.

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Operation Mincemeat, now a major film SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 'Engrossing as any thriller' Daily Telegraph 'Superb. Meticulously researched, splendidly told, immensely entertaining' John le Carre 'This is the most amazing book, full of fascinating and hair-raising true life adventures ... It would be impossible to recommend it too highly' Mail on Sunday _______ One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and suave, courageous and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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