One of the most important periods of modern history was that of the Cold War, between 1945-1991.This war was unconventional,and it was maily hidden from the public on both sides of the conflict.The main action took place in the field of intelligence.The main players in this war of mirrors-the Great Game of the 20th century-were spies.
I have maintained for a long time that it was the secret services of the East and the West that were responsible for preventing a Third World War.Paradoxically, this was achieved by this hidden war which was played in the misty dead drop sites of Berlin, Vienna, Moscow ,Washington,London and other less famous espionage sites. These were the heydays of hundreds of thousands of spooks-some more famous than the others.Most of them- especially the professional ones- have used a variety of means in order to accomplish their assignments successfully.
In a very interesting and detailed book- perhaps the best there is today on this fascinating subject-the two authors elaborate on the many gadgets the CIA has developed and employed in this battle of wits.There was a special department within the CIA which was responsible for this.What was considered to dwell only in the imagination of authors and scriptwriters was for real.The mentors of the CIA(and its predecessor -the OSS) were their British cousins who have taught their colleagues some useful lessons in the field of espionage.The CIA have surpassed their masters creating for many decades a miscellany of low-and especially high-tech astounding ,innovative technologies.Among them there were cameras, microphones,concealment devices, physical and psychological diguises,ivory letter-opening devices,combustible notebooks, special dead drop rocks,microdot viewers,audio transmitters and bugs.Even animals,such as:bats, cats and rats were employed in this world of clandestine operations.We get a detailed story about the modus operandi of two of the most famous spies who worked for the West:Oleg Penkovsky and his "worthy succsessor" Adolf Tolkachev.Both of them saved the US Intelligence and taxpayer billions of dollars.
The books has two main sections.The first one is about the spytechs and the second is about the fundamentals of the spycraft.
My main reservation about this book is about its editing which was done -somehow- perfunctorily.However,you will enjoy every page of this reliable, impeccably -searched, readable, fascinating and revealing book.The real bonus is an array of never-before-seen photos and diagrams and the authors' message is conveyed clearly:without this kind of James-Bond's-Q-masterminded technology, the West would have lost the Cold War.
The other thing is this:in our Digital Age everything becomes obsolete in a very short time, thus ,those engaged in this trade should never stop racking their brains in order to create novel devices to be used against the adversary.
This book is a must-read for pros and buffs of espionage and Cold War history.