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The Great Game: The Myths and Reality of Espionage
In this riveting insider’s account, a former inspector general of the CIA compares actual espionage cases and practices with classic and popular spy fiction, showing that the real world of espionage is nearly always stranger and more complicated than even the best spy fiction.Exploring everything from tradecraft and recruitment to bureaucracy and betrayal, The Great Game contrasts fictional spies created by such authors as John Le Carr?, Tom Clancy and Joseph Conrad with their real-life counterparts from Kim Philby to Aldrich Ames. Drawing on his thirty year career with the CIA, Frederick P. Hitz shows that even the most imaginative authors fail to capture the profound human dilemmas raised by real-life cases. Engaging and insightful, The Great Gameshines a fascinating light on the veiled history of intelligence.
Reviews for The Great Game: The Myths and Reality of Espionage
The book arose out of seminar Hitz taught in which "great works of spy fiction are compared to actual espionage operations." As such there is a lot of quoting of espionage fiction in the book, and from the Notes and index one could get a great reading list of such fiction from Rudyard Kipling's Kim to John le Carre, Graham Greene and Tom Clancy. In fact, it may be that as supplying a reading list of such fiction it's at its most useful. On the fact side of things, Hitz is certainly qualified to give us insight into the real world of espionage. He worked for decades in various positions in the Central Intelligence Agency, and the State and Defense departments. The book acts as a good primer on intelligence and the Cold War, with such chapters as "Recruitment" and "Tradecraft" and discussing moles such as Kim Philby, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. It's a well-written and absorbing book--a quick and entertaining read at 189 pages. In the end however, I felt as if I just skimmed the surface and felt unsatisfied as to the insights on either a literary or policy level. Not a keeper. FWIW, and for my own future reference, here are the classics of spy fiction referenced in the book:Rudyard Kipling, Kim (1901)Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands (1903)Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)John A. Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)W. Somerset Maugham, Ashenden (1928)Eric Ambler, A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)Graham Greene, The Confidential Agent (1939); The Quiet American (1955); Our Man in Havana (1958); The Human Factor (1978)Ian Fleming, From Russia, with Love (1957); Dr. No (1958); Goldfinger (1959)John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963); Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974); Smiley's People (1979); A Perfect Spy (1986); The Russia House (1989)Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal (1971)Charles McCurry, Tears of Autumn (1975)John Banville, The Untouchable (1977)William Hood, Mole (1982)Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October (1984)David Ignatius, Agents of Innocence (1987)Alan Furst, Dark Star (1991)Robert Littell, The Company: A Novel of the CIA (2002)read more
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