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

by Frederick P. Hitz

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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) ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jul 30, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375412107, Hardcover)

In this fascinating analysis, Frederick Hitz, former inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency, contrasts the writings of well-known authors of spy novels—classic and popular—with real-life espionage cases. Drawing on personal experience both as a participant in “the Great Game” and as the first presidentially appointed inspector general, Hitz shows the remarkable degree to which truth is stranger than fiction.

The vivid cast of characters includes real life spies Pyotr Popov and Oleg Penkovsky from Soviet military intelligence; Kim Philby, the infamous Soviet spy; Aldrich Ames, the most damaging CIA spy to American interests in the Cold War; and Duane Clarridge, a CIA career operations officer. They are held up against such legendary genre spies as Bill Haydon (le Carré’s mole in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Magnus Pym (in le Carré’s A Perfect Spy), Tom Rogers (in David Ignatius’s Agents of Innocence), and Maurice Castle (in Graham Greene’s The Human Factor).

As Hitz skillfully weaves examples from a wide range of espionage activities—from covert action to counterintelligence to classic agent operations—we see that the actual is often more compelling than the imaginary, and that real spy case histories present moral and other questions far more pointedly than fiction.
A lively account of espionage, spy tradecraft, and, most of all, the human dilemmas of betrayal, manipulation, and deceit.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In this analysis, Frederick Hitz, former inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency, contrasts the writings of well-known authors of spy novels - classic and popular - with real-life espionage cases. Drawing on personal experience both as a participant in "the Great Game" and as the first presidentially appointed inspector general, Hitz shows the remarkable degree to which truth is stranger than fiction." "The vivid cast of characters includes real life spies Pyotr Popov and Oleg Penkovsky from Soviet military intelligence; Kim Philby, the infamous Soviet spy; Aldrich Ames, the most damaging CIA spy to American interests in the Cold War; and Duane Clarridge, a CIA career operations officer. They are held up against such legendary genre spies as Bill Haydon (le Carre's mole in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Magnus Pym (in le Carre's A Perfect Spy), Tom Rogers (in David Ignatius's Agents of Innocence), and Maurice Castle (in Graham Greene's The Human Factor)." "As Hitz skillfully weaves examples from a wide range of espionage activities - from covert action to counterintelligence to classic agent operations - we see that the actual is often more compelling than the imaginary, and that real spy case histories present moral and other questions far more pointedly than fiction."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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