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The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World Paperback – Apr 1 2006

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First edition (April 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592282970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592282975
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Well organized, informative . . . When he talks about the CIA, its Russian counterparts, and specific examples of fiascoes and coups, the reader will certainly snap to attention."--The New Yorker

"The Craft of Intelligence is one of the most fascinating books of our time."--Washington Post

"Brilliantly selective candor."--The New York Times


"Dulles writes well and fascinatingly on the history of espionage and intelligence from Sir Francis Walsingham to Wild Bill Donovan and John McCone . . . The Craft of Intelligence is one of the most fascinating books of our time."--Washington Post

"Brilliantly selective candor. There is material enough here on breathlessly high-level sleuthing to keep Helen MacInnes and Ian Fleming busy writing all kinds of thrillers."--New York Times

"Well organized, informative . . . When he talks about the CIA, its Russian counterparts, and specific examples of fiascoes and coups, the reader will certainly snap to attention."--The New Yorker --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3965ad4) out of 5 stars 67 reviews
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3da4324) out of 5 stars Core reading requirement for students of intelligence Oct. 9 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As I began researching the modern intelligence community, several books (e.g. "The Night Watch" by David Atlee Philips) pointed back to "The Craft of Intelligence" as a fundamental starting point. Because this book deals with the basic intelligence methods and objectives, it maintains its relevance well into the present. In some sections Dulles also addresses the ethical implications of deceptive or clandestine intelligence collection, providing valuable thought or discussion material for individuals scrutinizing this unique, and arguably disdainful, function of government. Dulles' writing style is thoughtful, refined, yet straightforward, revealing some of those traits which earned him the moniker "The Gentleman Spy".
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3da478c) out of 5 stars Great information... but incredibly dry. May 4 2009
By Evan Shearin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's really all in the title. The information available in this book is excellent, reliable, and backed up with anecdotes and references. However, it's very dense and reads like a bureaucratic report, making it difficult to get through. Definitely not a casual read.
48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3da4738) out of 5 stars Better than spy fiction Nov. 16 2007
By E. M. Van Court - Published on
Format: Paperback
Allen Dulles said that "(i)n our time, the United States is being challenged by a hostile group of nations that profess a philosophy of life and government inimical to our own" and "(t)oday's intelligence service also finds itself in the situation of having to maintain constant watch in every part of the world, no matter what may at the moment be occupying the main attention of diplomats and military men." Given that this was written over forty years ago, in a radically different geopolitical climate, it is impressive that his observations are still valid and relevant, though not in the fashion that concerned him at the time of his writting. If someone reads this book broadly, without getting caught up in the constant references to the grand failure of the twentieth century, communism, there is great current relevance here.

Any citizen in a democracy has a duty to understand issues before voting. The actions and managment of the intelligence apparatus of the nation should be an essential issue in any voters' understanding of international affairs. "The Craft of Intelligence" will give the reader and voter a necessary understanding of the responsibilities and duties of the intellegence system. It discusses intelligence requirements, collection, and analysis, as well as defense against foreign spies, and deception.

But all that 'social conscious' and 'civic duty' stuff is the not the reason to read this book.

This is a bunch of awesome, historical spy stories! From a guy who has been there, done that from World War I through the height of the Cold War, you'll here the real life stories that inspired Tom Clancy, and Ian Fleming. And it's better than the made up stuff, as these events shaped the world we live in today.

I would be interested in hearing more from contemporary conspiracy theorists about this book. It seems ripe with items that could be interpreted as confirmation or denial (thereby 'truly' confirming the denied point...) of a wide range of incidents and topics. I wear my aluminum foil hat in eager anticipation of the ever amusing ramblings of the folks who know the 'truth' that has been withheld from those of us from the ignorant masses with our heads in the sand.

Great book, both as entertainment and for the responsible citizen (and as fodder for those unaffected by the mind control lasers from area 51).

E. M. Van Court
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3da4ac8) out of 5 stars Amusing and Factual Oct. 12 2011
By Justin Turner - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to previous reviews, Allen does provide some great insights into the world of intelligence collection and analysis. However, keep in mind that Allen was also a CIA Director. This means he's not tapping phones himself, any more than a mining executive swings a pick axe, and so he's not going to tell you how that is done. It's also correct that we no longer live in Allen Dulle's world. Allen died in 1969, a world where the Soviets were at their most intimidating, Communism was a genuine global threat and the Cold War was a desperate battle of economics, politics, covert and overt violence, intelligence penetration and, of course, ideology. Please keep this in mind when you buy and read this book.

The book has some interesting insights into what intelligence meant at the time. It was the laborious penetration of the clandestine parts of a clandestine society. It was the penetration of soviet satellite nations. It was also the defence against clandestine penetration.

This book doesn't disclose national secrets, but I was surprised by the level of insight that Dulles provides into the intelligence world he led and managed at the time. Problems including the difficulties of penetration soviet society, the methods of blackmail that soviets would use against westerners, his opinion of the fundamentally untrustworthiness of the soviets (I got the impression they would not abide a gentleman's agreement), and many stories illustrating how soviets attempted to penetrate western targets (like embassies) while also showing how many soviets would defect and collaborate with the west.

I also don't want to give anything way, but his section on Homo Sovieticus was both very funny and chilling at the same time.

Lastly, he talks about issues of secrecy in a nation like the US, where the US will publish reams of congressional hearings, budgets, data about military advances in trade journals, and so on. Meanwhile, virtually everything was classified secret in soviet society. Of course, he believes it should be more difficult for the Soviets to collect details about American politics, but he also seemed a bit resigned to this level of wide publication as being a feature of what it is to be American.

To those who imagine that the world of intelligence involves somehow doing things that aren't common sense, this book will be disappointing. Allen Dulles talks about practical problems and practical observations about intelligence work at the time of writing.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3da4984) out of 5 stars Selective candor July 1 2013
By A Forest Fan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Probably the most accurate jacket endorsement ever in the history of publishing, from the back cover, "Selective candor".

Allen W Dulles has a number of interesting stories about spycraft and dissidents in the early days of espionage. He has a nice historical overview which delves into ancient intelligence and more recent (in his time) spy escapades before and during WWII. But as we move into the cold war, the author starts redacting his account quite heavily. Dulles tells the reader what he thinks he can get away with, this being written at the height of the cold war in the mid-sixties. The details he leaves out are now common knowledge, and that's the problem with this dated book. We're told of the emplacement of nuclear missiles in Cuba, but not that this was a response to the US emplacing intermediate range ballistic missiles in Turkey, right on the USSR's border.

We are told matter-of-factly of Gary Powers release from Soviet custody in a spy swap, leaving out the abandonment that Powers suffered as his superiors believe he should have used his suicide pills rather than survive the destruction of his U-2 spyplane. There are a lot of interesting stories that Dulles could have told us, but chose not to. The information this book contains is as outdated as one of Frank Sinatra's hats circa 1965. Read it for some interesting anecdotes that Dulles feels are old enough to safely relate to readers, and skip the second half of the book.