The Secret is Out: True Spy Stories by Teri Martini, 1990.

This is a non-fiction book about famous spies in history.  It begins with a discussion of spies in general and asks the question of whether spies are heroes or villains.  The answer depends on which side they’re on and which side you’re on.  Spies around the world and throughout history have been engaged in similar work, using similar tactics, although technology has changed the profession in modern times.  Even spies on opposite sides of a conflict use the same skills and tactics, they just employ them for the benefit of different countries or causes.

The stories contained in the book:

SecretIsOutPic1The Gentleman Spy — This is the story of Captain John Andre and General Benedict Arnold during the American Revolution.  John Andre was a British officer who was executed for his role in helping Benedict Arnold defect to the British side.

Abraham Lincoln’s Personal Spy — The famous Pinkerton detective agency, the first detective agency in the United States, played an important role in the American Civil War.

The Spy with “the Delicate Air” — Spies were not always part of an official organization.  Even a civilian could turn spy in the name of a cause she believed in as Belle Boyd did during the American Civil War.

The Black Chamber — In the early 1900s, agents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire tracked down a mysterious agent in the pay of Russia and discover that the person they were looking for was the man who had once been in charge of their own organization.

The Eye of the Morning — Mata Hari was one of the most famous spies of all time, although she wasn’t really successful.  It was more her reputation as a dancer and the manner of her death that made her famous.

SecretIsOutPic2The Phantom of the Desert — Lawrence of Arabia was actually Thomas Edward Lawrence, a British army Captain.  He helped the Arabs to fight against the Turks during WWI.

The Spy without a Country — A poor young man from Hungary with a habit of telling tall tales left home to seek his fortune and eventually ended up becoming a Member of Parliament in Britain under the name of Trebitsch Lincoln.  However, when Trebitsch Lincoln was in need of money during WWI, he decided to turn to spying.

Mincemeat Swallowed Whole — This is one of my favorite true spy stories!  During WWII, the British concocted a scheme to give false information to the Germans using a dead body that supposedly was a drowned British marine carrying important documents.

The Clenched Fist — Fritz Kolbe spied for the Allies from within Hitler’s foreign office during WWII.

The Third Man — Harold “Kim” Philby was a spy for British intelligence during the Cold War, but he was secretly working for the Soviet Union.s

The Spy Next Door — Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel was a Russian spy who posed as an ordinary American, Emil Goldfuss, in New York City.  After he was captured, the Americans decided not to execute him, although that was the usual punishment for espionage.  Instead, he was held prisoner until he could be used for the famous prisoner exchange where he was traded to the Russians for the captured U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers.


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