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The Great Game: The Myths and Reality of Espionage
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The Great Game: The Myths and Reality of Espionage

3.03 of 5 stars 3.03  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  14 reviews
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 c ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Vintage (first published April 20th 2004)
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Lisa (Harmonybites)

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
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Sam Stewart
Wow, this was a good book! It was interesting having this ex-CIA Director of Opereations(for Europe) compare and contrast good spy literature with real-world spying. Sadly, there were only the publicized cases, of course, and I'm sure he even had to pare those down for security purposes as well. I wish he used more than a handful of authors, though. But, alas, maybe there only is a handful of good authors in the spy genre. Like anything else, 90% is crap and 10% is quality.
Kathleen
The Great Game traces the work and reality of the CIA, complete with discussions of how actual spying worked (not remotely like James Bond) both diplomatically and prosaically. It then compares the reality to the fictional depictions of spies in books like, well, James Bond* and Le Carre novels.

Now, I knew nothing whatsoever about the spy fiction that Hitz references, but that turned out to be a good thing because apparently they are all very wrong? I'm not sure. I did like the book, and I appr
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Martin



The Great Game: Review


There's a good deal of interest in this comparative analysis of spying as it appears in fiction and reality--Frederick P. Hitz had a long history of service in the CIA and the State Department, so he's able to speak as a knowledgeable insider. But is there something in the nature of secret service work that obliges its practitioners to wear blinders in perpetuity? even long after their official career terminates? It's not that Frederick HItz never touches on a moral issue
...more
Claire
Mar 30, 2015 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
I had to read this book to prepare for my Espionage UVA~OLLI class which begins this Wednesday. This book's purpose was to compare spy literature with real life spy cases from around WWi to 9/11. It just touches the surface of what could be discussed. Thus the book begs more questions than it answers. So now, I cannot wait to ask those questions during the OLLI lecture series.
Donald Dudley
I didn't care for this book. I thought the writing style to be jumbled and disorganized. I enjoy espionage as a non fiction and fiction genre. I had high hopes for this book. Alas my hopes were dashed.
Bridget O'Connor
This book is difficult to get through without a required reading book list. Sometimes the literary scene would be set up to explore the plot but many times it was not. There were some interesting points and facts but this material is better discussed in a class or seminar rather than book format.
Jordan McCollum
I read this after reading several CIA memoirs (including at least one that this book referenced), and I think I might have liked it better had I read it first. I wished it had dug deeper--it certainly didn't feel like a college-level look at the disparity between real and fictional espionage.

Perhaps the reading list from this course would be a better place to start.
Todd
I think I grabbed this book from the give-away pile in my apt lobby but I'm glad I didn't pay for it. The title sounded awesome and it had such good potential, but it was more a summarization of other spy novels and some real-life spy stories. Even that could've made for a good book, but the format was so scattered. I honestly didn't enjoy this at all.
Jay D
Fascinating read. Compares the basics of espionage and tradecraft with aspects of the classical spy fiction works. Plenty of nuggets of veiled hints, as well as juicy tidbits and conspiracy. A must-read for those who enjoy conspiracy and espionage, as well as literature.
Boozy
excellent discussion on the multiple facets that it takes to develop and become a professional in the intelligence field. The Author uses literary examples to highlight the differences between reality and popular beliefs.
Carol
Comparison of real spycraft and history with fictional stories - an interesting idea but you would have to have a pretty good grasp of each to follow this easily and then it probably would be too simplistic
Clint
The reality of espionage versus the classic spy novels
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