SPIES: Their Trade and Their Trick by Ronald Seth

SPIES: Their Trade and Their Trick

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Ronald Seth is our man in the middle--between Irving and Burkholz (see above) and Wilkinson (see below)--in that his approach is an amalgam of the exposition of the one and the documentation of the other. Each chapter here deals with a theoretical facet of espionage (making contact, arranging cover, getting caught), yet draws on the real thing for illustration (Daniel Defoe, Civil War spies, an agent for Napoleon, plus the contemporary roster)... speaking of which, Seth himself is the real thing--or was--a spy in Estonia for the Allies. When that comes out it glamorizes the book, until it's counterbalanced by some unbecoming moralizing: ""good spies"" are those who act out of patriotism; then there are the ""despicable spies,"" traitors and double-agents who do it for money, and those men now known as ""ideological spies"" who gave away atomic secrets for love of the Marxist ideal. Appropriate is the noting of major CIA failures, but once again there's the preaching tendency, in the form of a pause on the dark, red threats posed to democracy by efficient Russia and mysterious Peking. Mr. Seth has been around a lot, written a lot, knows a lot about the history and machinations of this world, but what comes across is nevertheless somehow more static than stirring.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1969
Publisher: Hawthorn