The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World
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The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  17 reviews
If the experts could point to any single book as a source for understanding twentieth-century intelligence, that book would be Allen W. Dulles's The Craft of Intelligence. This classic of spycraft is based on Dulles's incomparable experience as a diplomat, international lawyer, and America's premier intelligence officer. Dulles was a high-ranking officer of the CIA's prede...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Lyons Press (first published November 30th 1962)
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Phil
Jan 25, 2009 Phil rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interesting in the history of espionage
Shelves: 2009
Fascinating description of intelligence operations in the Cold War era. It was written in the 1960s and therefore was a little dated. Some of the references to current events were lost on me, because they clearly weren't recent enough for my memory. But it helped me understand the CIA, the purpose of CIA, and the role it has in government. It also helped me understand how the Cold War has affected government intelligence and security operations to this day.

Although there were some really interes...more
G.T. Almasi
Yawn-O-Rama. The writing is real-l-l-l-y dull, because spying isn't actually all that exciting, and Allen Dulles is a crashing bore. I made myself read this as pure research, figuring if I'm going to write spy novels I'd better have taken in the real stuff. It's a good look into the short-sighted, self-righteous, asinine mindset of circa-1960s CIA. An influence I took away was that big government agencies make a lot of mistakes, and so having my fictional agencies do some dumb things once in a w...more
Richard
A good outline of the basics of intelligence. Written in the mid-sixties, so it is heavy on Cold War stories and examples. While generally straightforward, the author (Allen Dulles) concealed some things in the interest of security, some of which later were made public.
Bob
Jun 25, 2008 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
When I began in the intelligence field in 1965, this was our unofficial bible. Although based primarily on Europe during WWII, many of the techniques are being used worldwide. A wonderful read for anyone who wants to understand the craft of intelligence.
Ben
Dulles is unquestionably a master on this subject. The book is dense, as each word was carefully chosen by an expert spymaster to produce an exact effect.

The work is now fifty years out of date, and a significant quantity of the book is simply recounting various defections, deceptions, coups and plots which succeeded or failed.
Lindsay Smith
I'd read parts of this while researching SKANDAL; gave it a full read-through this week. Dated, of course, but not nearly as much as I'd expected. Some great tidbits of WWII and Cold War spy tales as well as information on tradecraft and the psychology of espionage.
C.D.
This was a really interesting read. While it's more of a historical reference at this point, for someone completely outside the spy business, this book was very informative. A lot of it reflects the time it was written in, and with hindsight, you can see how laughable it was that the Soviet Union was going to turn all of Asia and Europe communist. The section about how Mossadegh was just a tool of the Soviets was outrageous and enraging.

At turns a justification for the existence of the CIA and a...more
Anton
This is a very timely book to read in this era of the "NSA Gate" (the Snowden saga). A lot of the content reads really modern, even though it was written nearly half a century ago. For example, the CIA founder mentions that he won't spy on friendly foreign leaders, except in special circumstances. There are many other insights on the craft of intelligence as well as fun examples from the Cold War era and even the US Civil War days and the dawn of organized intelligence services.

All in all, I rea...more
Ilya
Opinions of the longest-serving de facto director of the CIA and the villain of the famous Russian conspiracy theory. I was reminded of Noam Chomsky's What Uncle Sam Really Wants, but with the opposite sign; it is equally truthful. A characteristic quote is, "[Communist] stooges took over power in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954." Of course, Chomsky is far more popular among educated Americans.
Peter
Allen Dulles is one of the central figures in the creation of an organized intelligence structure in the United States. This book is largely comprised of his recollections on the work he did over the years he spent as both an agent and as the mastermind behind the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. It's dated stuff largely, but an interesting read nonetheless.
George
This was a good read for what it is: a primer written during the Cold War by a prior DCI. So, worth reading, but it won't change your life.
Don
The Author knows his stuff. A bit dated as this book deals with Cold War era intelligence but, still very relevant in today's world. This is not a how to manual for spying.
John
I learned that the great Alan Dulles, however good he was at being DCI, really wasn't that stellar of a writer. Fascinating subject, almost more so for what's not discussed.
Courtney
An interesting, but ultimately boring, overview of intelligence in general and the cold war period specifically.
Radu
A sort of a crash course in basic intelligence craft. Scarry how American establishment saw communists and cold war ..
Christopher Tang
Picked this up from the library.
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