jeregenest: (Kale mayhem)
I love books on counter-intelligence. The puzzle solving, the race against time (real or imagined), the false leads. LeCarre has Haydon say that "The secret services are the only real expression of a nation’s character,” and these books, especially when its about an amateur act of espionage, really serve to show some of the soft, and disturbing underbellies of our nation's intelligence service.

This book is all about the improbable story of Brian Regan, an embittered Air Force security specialist who decided to pad his retirement by offering classified intelligence to Libya. I find the story of Regan fascinating, not because of how special he is but how much he represents a snapshot of a white working class entitlement that seems familiar to today. All turned on itself and sick.

The writer is a staff writer and his love of cryptography and puzzles (and those who solve them) shine in the book.

A fun read, full of some great bits, that is probably well worth your time to read if you, like I, am fond of this type of book. If you haven't read much then this is a very serviceable introduction to this sort of tale and will be enjoyable.
jeregenest: (Kale Trust)
As a lover of spy novels I have to deal with the fact that, quite frankly, its a pretty horribly sexist mode. Unlike fantasy, mysteries and even thrillers where I long ago made a commitment to reading 75% of my yearly reading being novels written by women, I give myself a pass when it comes to spy novels. The best I can do is avoid the misogynist stuff and champion the women writers when I find them.

Stella Rimington (former Director General of MI5, properly Dame Rimington) is such an author. I love her fiction because she traces all the simmering rivalries, tensions, and mistrust between the two premier branches of England’s “Secret State.” A tension I loved explored in Deighton’s work, in the Sandbaggers, heck it is some of the best parts of MI5 (Spooks). And she does it all by incorporating a lot of realistic insider background that I just eat up.

Liz Carlyle, the protagonist of these books, has a preoccupation with not becoming a marionette of her job and she seeks to find a balance in her life that many of her male fictional counterparts either ignore or devalue. She has found a priority that George Smiley only found too late in life.

In short, if you like spy novels go and read these. What are you waiting for?
jeregenest: (kale cold war)
A favorite area for many people about spies is the tech, Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton and Henry R. Schlesinger seeks to fulfill that need by offering a fairly detailed history of CIA’s Office of Technical Service.

Another good treatment, one lacking the gee-whiz and being a lot more serious in its analysis is Jeffrey Richelson’s The Wizards of Langley: Inside The CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology.

I think both of these books very nicely work together and can serve to understand the role technology has played in espionage in the last 60 years. Some of the crazier ideas also make great game springboards.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
[livejournal.com profile] brand_of_amber has asked for books about spying. So I shall review my bookshelf, figuring any book I've kept I've kept for a reason. I'll be doing this slowly, so Brand if you need immediate book recommendations let me know (or want books on specific subjects).

Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community (Westview: 2007) )

Frederick Hitz, The Great Game: Myth & Reality of Espionage (Vintage, 2005) )
jeregenest: (Default)
There is a good story here about spies and Ringling Brothers that seems to be crying out for a good piece of fiction.
jeregenest: (Shazam)
The starchild is hugely into princess stories and we just got Princess Grace from the library today. And one of the princesses mentioned as Noor Inayat Khan whom I had never heard of. Which is a great outrage, so I decided to post about this amazing person.


jeregenest: (Default)


http://bp3.blogger.com/_9AJmJzopn7o/RpucJNcCbdI/AAAAAAAAAAU/A8I-sscrquA/s1600-h/NSD-Strip-1-WEB.jpg

Which or some reason doesn't appear in my post. I lose at html.

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