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The Spy's Bedside Book

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
For everyone who’s ever wondered what it really takes to be a spy, legendary author Graham Greene (The Third Man, The Quiet American) and his brother Hugh have compiled this irresistible selection of fiction, memoir, and tricks of the trade straight from the all-time masters of espionage. Here is a perfectly safe way to discover the dangerous secrets many spies have died t ...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published 2006 by The Folio Society (first published 1957)
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3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a long read I guess because I had so many things going on and the fact it is a collection of very varying items.

The book is from the Folio Society and I must admit they are beautiful books to hold and own but sometimes you do get to see a few imperfections (more on that later)

The book is really a collection of articles, short stories and even excerpts from larger publications (for example from John Buchan to Ian Fleming). There is a real mix of subjects and stories here. The book is bro
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
The theater of absurd which some call life is on!
An almost festively tongue in the cheek read. An excursion on the roundabouts of shadow affairs including the hazards, delights and perquisites of the profession.
Take Captain Cumming, the first head of MI6. He wore a gold-rimmed monocle, wrote only in green ink, and it is said, possibly apocryphally, that after he lost a leg in an accident he used to get round the corridors by putting his wooden one on a child’s scooter and propelling himself a
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good cloak-and-dagger fun from Graham Greene and all his undercover friends. This is a delightful compilation of derring-do. My only complaint is that when the story or excerpt is good, you want more, much more. But then it wouldn't be as good a tour of all things nefarious.
Lawrence Patterson
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
An amusing read making you wonder how any country kept any secrets and how paranoia got in the way of finding tracking or using agents. The levels of incompetence and farce were enjoyable to read but did people really pay for these acts? A good number of stories could have gone on for a few more pages but then the book would have lost some interest and immediacy. Some stories are amusing, some hard to believe and occasionally aspects that are too simple for words. The stories are a bit dated and ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Considering the author and the subject, this isn't as much fun as you might think.
Jack Heath
Oct 28, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ag
Synopsis: Hugh and Graham Greene edited a dozen or so spy stories from novelists and actual practitioners.
Dane Cobain
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you ever want to become a spy or a secret agent then boy, is this the book for you. Written by Graham Greene, a man who gained international renown as a writer and who also happens to have dabbled with espionage, and his brother Hugh, it’s also introduced by Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5. So convincing is it, in fact, that the anthology was originally bought in bulk by East German intelligence, and there’s also a form at the back offering trade prices to members of the secret servi ...more
David Lowther
An interesting rather than gripping anthology compiled by the brothers Graham and Hugh Greene. Sadly, from my point of view at least, most of the extracts dated from the First World War or earlier.
The best piece, by a country mile, was I Spy Charlie Stowe by Graham Greene himself. It was very short and is a stand alone piece which would serve as an absorbing introduction to a novel. I found many comments about it online. Intriguing!

David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil and Liberating Belsen.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
An interesting assortment of short fiction and nonfiction compiled by noted, British author, Graham Greene and his brother. Some of the passages range from the tiny snippets of Le Queux's late 19th century serials, all the way to poetry on the betrayal committed by Benedict Arnold. With the exception of a few clunkers and a couple of confusing and out of context pieces, this collection was well worth the read for anyone interested in the subject of anachronistic spying techniques?
A quick read, but really a jumble of short extracts rather than short stories, leaving very little to be enjoyed by each one. I read this on a trip because it's in my list of Greene books and was available as a kindle loan from a library, but had I realized what it was I probably would not have bothered.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More vacation reading and very light. Mostly brief excerpts from pre-1960 spy novels and real-life spy chronicles. They share a kind of innocence about that trade that we lost after 1963, when The Spy Who Came in from the Cold appeared and destroyed any remaining illusions about the glamour of a trade plied in labyrinths of betrayal. A disappointment.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: spies, folio-society
I thought I was getting a book of short stories, but it's really a book of vignettes drawn from a large number of spy books, both fact and fiction. While amusing, it's not a great read.

It is one of the most handsome books I own. It's beautifully put together, from the layouts to the binding. It's a pleasure to hold in one's hands.
This was fun... It is a collection of spy stories, both fiction and non, very much bent towards the first world War era. Some of the language, obviously, is old, but this is still a clever, fun book. Perfect for leaving on your bedside or by your favorite chair and reading a few stories here and there.
Donald Bratt
This is a splendid bedside book. I haven't slept so well in years. Surprisingly short stories, some witty, only one frightening makes this book a perfect companion on the bedside. A bit out of fashion as modern spy stories are not in. Here we talk Kipling instead of le Carré...
Tyler Lees
Aug 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An anthology through the beginnings of the spy thriller genre, with a few true stories thrown in. All of the stories are from before 1957, with most of them coming from before World War One. Accordingly, they can at times be a little slow to read for younger readers.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting blend of anecdotes offered by real-life spies about their experiences and snippets from different eras of spy novels about similar experiences. I liked that it was easy to pick up and read in short sittings, because that was really the amount of time I had to devote to it.
Jack Miner
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you didn't like it, read it again... if you still don't like it, read it again. If at that point, you don't like it... you're an idiot.
Didn't ever quite get around to finishing this one, must reborrow.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Just.... incredible. Great book !
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
originally not what I was expecting but am finding it interesting
Ashley Johnson (Bigham)
I was hoping for short stories, but it's topical excerpts instead. The time period of these stories is neat, especially after just finishing a WWII spy book.
Some great stories, but it was sometimes frustrating to only have tempting extracts of works I would very much have liked to read in their entirety.
Matt Kelland
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
An interesting set of snippets about spies, thought more of a curiosity than a great read.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a difficult time getting into this book.
and for the cost was certainly hoping it would have held together!
I did like the spy tips it gave, but would have liked to see more of them.
rated it did not like it
Oct 19, 2010
Samia Ruponti
rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2012
rated it it was ok
Apr 03, 2017
Chris Coldwell
rated it liked it
Dec 10, 2016
rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2018
rated it it was ok
Nov 25, 2016
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Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca