100 books like Venona

By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr,

Here are 100 books that Venona fans have personally recommended if you like Venona. 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 McCarthyism: The Fight for America

Larry Tye Author Of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

From my list on red scares in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book is Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. Before that, he was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts.

Larry's book list on red scares in the USA

Larry Tye Why did Larry love this book?

The fairest way to begin to explore the conspiracy McCarthy and his backers feared is to hear it from the Cassandra himself. Joe lays out his case in this thin volume.

By Joe McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Straight from the middle of the Cold-War era, then-Senator Joe McCarthy outlines his mission to reclaim America from the threat of communism, offering what he calls "documented answers to questions asked by friend and foe." A chilling set of documents then...and now. This is the original publication from 1952, NOT a modern reprint, in paper wrappers with McCarthy's photo on front cover,101 pages + Index in rear. Condition is downgraded to only Good due to external edgewear, light rubbing & some corner creasing. . Protected in mylar collector bag Free! Please see our photos--they show the Exact book you will…


Book cover of The Age of Suspicion

Larry Tye Author Of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

From my list on red scares in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book is Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. Before that, he was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts.

Larry's book list on red scares in the USA

Larry Tye Why did Larry love this book?

Wechsler was the editor of The New York Post, a short-lived Communist and lifelong liberal, and a favorite target of McCarthy and McCarthyism. Wechsler’s razor-edged analysis of the era is the ideal counterpoint to McCarthy’s, and offers a lens into the scare’s flesh-and-blood victims.

By James A. Wechsler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York journalist recounts his confrontation with Senator Joe McCarthy and his early involvement with the American Communist Party


Book cover of Joe McCarthy And The Press

Larry Tye Author Of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

From my list on red scares in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book is Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. Before that, he was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts.

Larry's book list on red scares in the USA

Larry Tye Why did Larry love this book?

Bayley, a political reporter for the Milwaukee Journal during McCarthy’s rise and reign, offers riveting details about how the press enabled the Red Scare in a book that is at the same time dispassionate and telling for today.

By Edwin R. Bayley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a book for historians, journalists - and for all of us who need to remember this turbulent time in our nation's past, and its lessons for today. ""No one who cares about liberty will read Mr. Bayley's masterful study without a shudder about the journalistic cop-outs that contributed to making the nightmare called McCarthyism. This book reminds us that it could happen here, but perhaps will make it harder to happen next time."" - Daniel Schorr


Book cover of The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government

Jim Elledge Author Of An Angel in Sodom: Henry Gerber and the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement

From my list on gay history before Stonewall.

Why am I passionate about this?

In post-Roe America, gay people face the very real possibility of our rights being stripped from us, underscoring the importance of this adage: “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” That's why years ago, when I realize that many gay men were ignorant about gay history before Stonewall, I began editing anthologies of gay writings from the past. That led me to writing biographies and histories in which I explore gay men’s experiences, hoping my work shines a light on our forgotten past.

Jim's book list on gay history before Stonewall

Jim Elledge Why did Jim love this book?

One of the darkest events in gay history has been brought to light in Johnson’s book. During the late 1940s and ’50s, the Federal Government engaged in a purge of gay men (and women) who worked in its offices by linking them to communism, an association politicians strengthened as the Cold War progressed. Fueled by their lies and guided by FBI Director (and closeted gay) J. Edgar Hoover, the persecution, called the “Lavender Scare,” spread from Washington, D.C. across the U.S. The government-sanctioned homophobia cost thousands their jobs, families, and friends when their sexuality was made public. Some committed suicide. Having this book at hand helped me understand the complexities of gay men’s lives during this horrific period.

By David K. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Cold War America, Senator Joseph McCarthy enjoyed tremendous support in the fight against what he called atheistic communism. But that support stemmed less from his wild charges about communists than his more substantiated charges that "sex perverts" had infiltrated government agencies. Although now remembered as an attack on suspected disloyalty, McCarthyism introduced "moral values" into the American political arsenal. Warning of a spreading homosexual menace, McCarthy and his Republican allies learned how to win votes. Winner of three book awards, "The Lavender Scare" masterfully traces the origins of contemporary sexual politics to Cold War hysteria over national security. Drawing…


Book cover of Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

This is a balanced view of Senator McCarthy that, read in conjunction with Venona, Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, replaces the mendacity of historical orthodoxy with the truth, as columnist Nicholas Von Hoffman acknowledged in 1996: “Point by point Joe McCarthy got it all wrong, and yet he was still closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him.” The collapse of the Soviet Union opened both Soviet and American intelligence archives to Western scholars, if only briefly, and we now know that McCarthy’s charges were not, as we have been told for more than half a century, baseless, groundless, and irrational. Herman also reveals the dishonesty of Harry Truman and his enablers, who worked strenuously to obstruct investigations into Soviet espionage and poisoned political relations in this country.  

By Arthur Herman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Senator Joseph McCarthy is remembered as a self-serving and hypocritical man who recklessly destroyed people's lives through anticommunist witch hunting. This re-evaluation shows that the more that is learnt about communism in America, the more McCarthy is proven to be accurate in his charges.


Book cover of The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

Professor Cumings provides the most detailed, honest analysis of this country’s involvement in Korea from the end of World War II through the catastrophic war that virtually destroyed the entire Korean peninsula, left several million dead, and led this country directly into Vietnam. 

By Bruce Cumings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Description for this book, The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947, will be forthcoming.


Book cover of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

Moyar does an excellent job of debunking the myths surrounding this country’s failure to secure an independent, non-communist South Vietnam. From the “Bright and Shining Lie” of the vaunted Saigon press corps to the supposed incompetence of Ngo Dinh Diem, Moyar demonstrates that the orthodox narrative is false and that the loss of Vietnam was the result of decisions made in Washington rather than dysfunction in Saigon.  

By Mark Moyar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on a wealth of new evidence from all sides, Triumph Forsaken, first published in 2007, overturns most of the historical orthodoxy on the Vietnam War. Through the analysis of international perceptions and power, it shows that South Vietnam was a vital interest of the United States. The book provides many insights into the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963 and demonstrates that the coup negated the South Vietnamese government's tremendous, and hitherto unappreciated, military and political gains between 1954 and 1963. After Diem's assassination, President Lyndon Johnson had at his disposal several aggressive policy options…


Book cover of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

Paul Kengor provides a steady, detailed analysis of Reagan’s successful attempt to end the Cold War by driving the USSR to economic collapse. From technological embargoes, economic warfare and disinformation that the Soviets believed were intelligence successes to driving the price of oil down to $10 per barrel, Reagan’s policies were disastrous for Soviet interests. In just one year, the USSR moved from a $700 million trade surplus with the West to a $1.4 billion deficit, which tripled during the following year. “In my view,” wrote Gorbachev in the end, “the 40th President of the United States will go down in history for his rare perception.”

By Paul Kengor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on extraordinary research: a major reassessment of Ronald Reagan's lifelong crusade to dismantle the Soviet Empire–including shocking revelations about the liberal American politician who tried to collude with USSR to counter Reagan's efforts

Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan made presidential historian Paul Kengor's name as one of the premier chroniclers of the life and career of the 40th president. Now, with The Crusader, Kengor returns with the one book about Reagan that has not been written: The story of his lifelong crusade against communism, and of his dogged–and ultimately triumphant–effort to overthrow the Soviet Union.

Drawing upon reams…


Book cover of Spymaster: My Thirty-Two Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West

Mark Hollingsworth Author Of Agents of Influence: How the KGB Subverted Western Democracies

From my list on the KGB, Russia and espionage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing about Russia for the past 20 years for all the UK national newspapers, The Spectator and contributed to several TV documentaries. I am fascinated by Russia which is a unique country and has been a major influence on the world for the past 100 years. Based on new documents, my book Londongrad - From Russia with Cash revealed how Russian Oligarchs made their wealth, moved it out of Russia, hid their fortunes and then parked and spent it in London. My new book - Agents of Influence - provides an insight into how the KGB influenced the West based on new archives.

Mark's book list on the KGB, Russia and espionage

Mark Hollingsworth Why did Mark love this book?

It is rare for a KGB spy to reveal so many secrets about the Soviet Union and Russian intelligence operations in the West and so this book is a revelation. 

Kalugin was a KGB officer based in the USA in the 1970s and he describes all their dirty tricks - fake letters, disinformation, honey trapping, and even attempts to bug the US Congress.

By Oleg Kalugin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Oleg Kalugin oversaw the work of American spies, matched wits with the CIA, and became one of the youngest generals in KGB history. Even so, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet system. In 1990, he went public, exposing the intelligence agency's shadowy methods. Revised and updated in the light of the KGB's enduring presence in Russian politics, Spymaster is Kalugin's impressively illuminating memoir of the final years of the Soviet Union.


Book cover of Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America

Daniela Tully Author Of Hotel on Shadow Lake: A Spellbinding Mystery Unravelling a Century of Family Secrets

From my list on East Germany from an insider's point of view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Germany and have been living all over the globe since I was 18, including the US. I married a New Yorker 15 years ago. I am drawn to stories that combine both the German and American cultures — two worlds I feel at home in — and as reflected in my debut novel. The next one will take place between the US and East Germany - we had relatives on the other side of the Iron Curtain whom we visited frequently. I will never forget surprising my 17-year-old cousin sitting alone in the garden, crying… over a can of Coke that we had smuggled over the border to him.

Daniela's book list on East Germany from an insider's point of view

Daniela Tully Why did Daniela love this book?

Before stumbling across this memoir, while doing the research for my next novel, I had no idea that the Cold War saw German Communist spies living in the USA - but come to think of it, why shouldn’t they have existed on the other side of the Iron Curtain? Barsky’s story blew me away: he was sent by the KGB to the States as a sleeper agent. What “broke” him was not his challenging profession, but the love for his child — he eventually had two families, one in East Germany with a wife who knew about his true identity - and another one in the States, with a wife who didn’t.

He had a son with the German and a daughter with his Latin-American wife in the US. He wasn’t there when his son was born, but witnessed the birth of his daughter. When the Cold War ended and…

By Jack Barsky, Cindy Coloma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One decision can end everything . . . or lead to unlikely redemption.
Millions watched the CBS 60 Minutes special on Jack Barsky in 2015. Now, in this fascinating memoir, the Soviet KGB agent tells his story of gut-wrenching choices, appalling betrayals, his turbulent inner world, and the secret life he lived for years without getting caught.

On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward Customs and Immigration.

Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist.

The identity was a KGB forgery, used to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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