Whitehouse de-romanticizes spying but finds himself depending upon the zealous exploits of amateurs in this compendium of intriguing adventures in military intelligence. When, for instance, Mata Hari boldly disrobes herself before a French firing squad, you see a lumpy hausfrau and not Greta Garbo crying to the soldiers, ""Would you destroy one as beautiful as I?"" (""The rifles of the firing squad answered her question without hesitation."") Typically, these secret agents (the amateurs) want to strike one blow for freedom, but suddenly are drawn into an inexorable whirlpool of events. Well, they are mere spies; genuine agents sit home using their library cards at the British Museum or Library of Congress, sifting, sifting, for the true ore. Whitehouse traces spying from the time of Moses (who sent twelve agents into the land of Canaan) through Caesar's invasion of Britain up to Benedict Arnold, the Civil War and through the First and Second World Wars. Horribly enough, military intelligence today is often based on information from brainwashed collaborators, as happened to captured U.S. troops in Korea. Sub rosa communication during atomic warfare, he says, will be quite taxing.