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You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger
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You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  212 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
With a sharp eye and wry wit, Roger Hall recounts here his experiences as an American Army officer assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. First published in 1957 to critical and popular acclaim, his memoir has become a cult favorite in intelligence circles. He chronicles his experiences from his time as a junior officer fleeing a tedious tr ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published February 24th 2004 by US Naval Institute Press (first published January 1st 1957)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 09, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
Recently resurrected, hilarious memoir about one of the pioneers of the U.S. Special Forces. Hall is a solid humorist, who happens to have been one tough, smart, and fearless dude who had very little time for authority. Reading his tales of being trained as a special forces paratrooper and getting sent into WWII goes way beyond mere military fascination. He calls out the idiots and the idiocy that he encountered, all in subversive, sarcastic fashion. Anyone who loves dry, gallows humor can appre ...more
Sep 22, 2014 Nooilforpacifists rated it really liked it
This book is why the CIA now has a rule requiring pre-clearance for any former employee's writing. It's the story of a US Army paratrooper who accepts an unknown but dangerous classified assignment, in order to escape his Stateside instructor job, and winds up in the OSS, circa 1943. But it's written in the driest, most sardonic style possible. And helped by Keystone-cop misadventures, drinking contests and some time with then Major Colby. Plus -- legendary scenes -- a training exercise to, uh, ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Keith rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
A highly amusing tale of the author's adventures in the OSS during World War II. The book is well written and very entertaining, and gives a slightly irreverent but very interesting view into the life of a spook. The most interesting parts were actually the stories of their training exercises and the misadventures that they had. I expected the book to pick up a little in intensity when he actually got to the war, but that part of the book turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic for reasons that ...more
Noah Stacy
Aug 16, 2009 Noah Stacy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Entertaining, but ultimately disappointing. This memoir of an early OSS officer was heavy on the drinking, carousing, and camaraderie, but short on the actual cloak and dagger, since Lt. Hall only found himself in Europe after the War was over. Perhaps the best part was his description of a training operation in which he had to infiltrate a war-related factory in Philadelphia.

Overall, not sad to've read it, but wish I'd known what to expect going in.
Jun 18, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing
You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger is Roger Hall's hilarious, real life story of his time in the OSS (WWII predecessor to the CIA). The earlier parts of the book (actually the majority of it) focus on Hall's OSS training, and then subsequent career as an instructor. I started to get the feeling that this book was a little bit of a hatchet job, but the story gets a bit more serious and exciting once Hall gets to his overseas adventures. While there is plenty of humor and irreverence in this b ...more
May 17, 2013 Charles rated it it was amazing
A well written, humorous, occasionally hilarious account of one man's story of his time as an OSS agent during WW-II. It was a quick, enjoyable read -- quick in part because it's not all that long and is in an easy-to-read style, but also because it was hard to put down.
May 09, 2013 SC rated it it was amazing
Have adored this book since I was twelve and read it the first time. World War II with a funny bone and a look at the OSS. Wish they'd make this a movie. If you enjoy the behind the scenes where it isn't all perfect, this is a wonderful book
Dan Cowden
Apr 08, 2015 Dan Cowden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biographical
This book deserves to be more widely read. It is an amusing auto-biographical romp of one man's journey in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the precursor to the CIA, and in fact a future director of the CIA is one of the many individuals Roger Hall encountered). Unfortunately for Hall, the OSS was as mixed up as it was effective (one of the best anecdotes is when Hall meets a German intelligence officer after the war and asks if he'd ever heard of the OSS; the German replied yes, he knew i ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I picked this book up because I read a very good review of it written by Adam Bernstein of The Washington Post. The book is mostly about how Roger Hall got into the O.S.S., his training, the bureaucracy, and how he became a trainer himself. Field operations were a part of the book but not a big part. The book reminded me a little of The Spy Wore Red but Roger Hall's male version is a little more funny and snarky. He also apparently downplays his abilities and exploits (although I'm pretty sure t ...more
Feb 21, 2008 James rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
A hilarious and fascinating record of the author's World War II experience in the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA), with the high point of the tale being his parachuting into France to help the resistance movement fight the Nazis. The CIA reportedly tried to keep new recruits from reading this book, apparently feeling that its accounts of many bureaucratic absurdities amidst the urgent business of defeating the Axis were too irreverent, but it has apparently beco ...more
May 06, 2015 Barry rated it really liked it
An often tongue in cheek humorous intelligent look at the O.S.S. Through the eyes and experiences of Roger Hall. An over the top look at the funny side of an unfunny clandestine war.
Mar 15, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Fun book! Hall's memoir recounts his time (and the killing of it) in the OSS near the end of WWII. He didn't get to see any real action, so most of the exploits here revolve around training, dealing with bureaucracy, after hours hijinks, and waiting. Lots of waiting. There is a definite patriotic tone to it that you would never hear in a war book these days, and he gives the guys that did work behind the lines their props. I don't know how to describe his writing style, which I liked a lot-- it' ...more
Darren Sapp
May 18, 2016 Darren Sapp rated it really liked it
An interesting and humorous look at wartime bureaucracy as well as details of OSS training.
Aug 13, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
This book was so engaging that I read it in one sitting. The writing style and vernacular were very much in the postwar mien... and hilarious! The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five was that the book synopsis led me to believe there would be more tales of an operational nature, whereas the book was largely the story of the O.S.S. training/waiting regimen of the author. Still, I highly enjoyed the book.
Danika Amusin
The real life stories of a man in the “Office of Strategic Services” during World War II - really funny and crazy stories of the people, the training, and the operations in the military.
Jul 19, 2014 Charis rated it it was amazing
Absolutely awesome! definitely one of my favs now. Clever, funny, enjoyable look at life in the OSS near the end of WWII. Although Roger Hall did not participate in any missions, he had a light-hearted take on life and made his story fun to read. Had me laughing out loud!
Jul 27, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it
I liked this book through I'm not really sure why. In places it was laugh out loud funny. But it didn't really seem to be about anything, despite being about WWII and Hall's experiences. I still enjoyed it though and would recommend it to people who have any interest in the war.
Sep 06, 2012 D rated it it was amazing
The funniest book I've read in a long time. This had been sitting around my parents house forever and I picked it up by chance. It both hilarious and interesting. It almost got me to join the Army. I recommend it highly.
Apr 21, 2009 DJ rated it it was amazing
Eons ago, I read this book and now long for a copy. Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest books I've ever read, from page one. Just the greatest. Find it and read it. You'll be exhausted from laughing out loud.
Elaine Nelson
Oct 03, 2008 Elaine Nelson rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Surprisingly cute, considering that it's about a guy in the precursor to the CIA. Mostly, he bumbles around waiting for stuff to happen and practicing being a spy. A lively writing style and a very quick read.
Jul 29, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
The earlier, funnier side of the American intellegence service, before the Cold War and everything got all serious. "You're Stepping..." : "Take the Money and Run" :: "The Good Shepherd" : "Interiors."
Kurt Young
Aug 18, 2010 Kurt Young rated it it was amazing
Funny slice of world war II life in the OSS stateside, and post-war Europe. Breaks no news, but a wonderful personal tale.
Funny, brisk read about the OSS, the precursor to the CIA, with a sarcastic narrator and little emotional heft.
Cindy Smith
Oct 15, 2008 Cindy Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
this was a good, short read. funny as heck. the intelligence and compassion of the author shines through.
Wilson Lanue
Jul 08, 2012 Wilson Lanue rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A memoir of enjoying life as a smart-aleck in the OSS. Read it when you need a smile forced on your face.
Feb 16, 2015 Thomas rated it it was amazing
I loved It. It my second favorite WWII book next to brazen chariots. I recommend it to any WWII fan.
Jul 18, 2011 Renee rated it liked it
"...a wry spy."

It's hard to write a funny book about World War II. Reads like an inside joke.
Mar 13, 2009 Arthur rated it it was amazing
A very entertaining memoir of an OSS officer during the Second World War. Highly recommended.
Feb 12, 2008 Rowena rated it really liked it
Hilarious! If you're looking for a chuckle, pick this one up.
Mar 05, 2012 gabrielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, history
Written in the 50s, still hilarious.
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