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Books - History - Historical Study - Gifts for a Wannabe Spy

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    Spy Book : The Encyclopedia of Espionage
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (18 August, 1998)
    list price: $18.95
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    Editorial Review

    Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen describe espionage as the world's second-oldest profession, right behind prostitution. They say the two trades share much of the same allure: "Money, secrecy, sex, great public interest, and people's reputations--or lack thereof--are involved in both professions." Spies are probably the objects of greater curiosity, given their proximity to the corridors of power. And now Polmar and Allen have come up with a compendium that informs on the informers, from "A-2" (the intelligence staff of the U.S. Army Air Corps) to "Zelle, Margaretha" (Mata Hari's real name). More than 2,000 entries deliver the scoop on agencies, operations, jargon, technology, and even such fictional figures as James Bond. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Politically correct history
    This book was written with the cooperation of the establishment. As a result it is somewhat biased. For instance we are not told in the article about Angelton that he was kicked out for being a failure at his job. During the last 10 years of his career, every Soviet defector that he claimed was genuine was a Soviet plant. Every one he claimed was a plant was genuine. After he was fired his safe was cut open and found to contain many year old evidence that he did not act on but when followed up was used to catch several Soviet spies.
    The article on Agee, who was a despicable person, falsely claims that he was the one who first revealed the identity of the Athens CIA head of station. Several heads of station had lived in the same house. Every taxi driver knew the identity. The house was the worst possible choice for a CIA person to live in. It was at the end of a dead end street and was so secluded that any illegal activities such as kidnapping or murder would go un-witnessed by others.

    The author gives misleading information to the effect that once the contents of a classified photo appear in some other public photo the classified photo should be declassified.This would allow the method of taking the photo to be deduced and future photos of equipment using that method would be blocked.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia IS the proper title
    A book of information of people, places, code names, etc. relating to spying, including very early items with descriptions and history. A query once found, leads to cross references and provokes further reading in this book, and into other books. Names well known people and their contribution to spying, and the contribution of private citizens also. Each item is well written and full of unexpected, details, history, andinformation. Presents code names and describes the activity for which the code was used. Very useful for anyone interested in spies and spying preceeding war time, in war time, and in peace time also.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Spy Book Encyc.
    An amusing read by this outsider observer of the community.I showed this book to an ex-member of the community and they "asked the right question." "Does it define the Intelligence Cycle?"

    Theone major short coming (4.5 stars) is that it could have said more aboutthe role of Canada and the CSE and their other units.These have haddocumentation and this is one of those areas where the Web excells. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0375702490
    Subjects:  1. Encyclopedias    2. Espionage    3. History - General History    4. Intelligence service    5. Military - Intelligence/Espionage    6. Political Science    7. Reference    8. Secret service   

    Inside the CIA
    by Ronald Kessler
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1994)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (31)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Clearly an FBI expert
    Overall, being the first book I've read on the CIA, I would say I learned a little bit from this book. It goes a long way to humanize the CIA, but at the same time criticizes them severely. Very little meat to this book, though. I'm sure that any other book about the CIA could give you just as much or even more information about the CIA's structure.

    Kessler clearly has a bias in favor of the FBI. The only parts of this book that seem to go into extensive detail are those about the former FBI director, Webster's administration. Kessler goes into extensive details about Webster and his assistants, but unfortunately, he jumps around so much I'm often not sure if he is talking about Webster at the FBI, Webster at the CIA, or both. Overall, I'm led to the impression that Webster was so favorably treated by this book (and not denigrated like the other directors) simply because he was a former FBI Director. Also, I'm really glad to read that Webster was given a stuffed FBI bear upon leaving the FBI in a book supposedly about the CIA.

    All the same, the book does definitely have some good parts, but it gets very repetitive at times especially when bringing up the mistakes of the CIA. It seems that Kessler had so very little factual information on the CIA that in order to write a full book about it, he had to include 80+ pages about the FBI and 50-60 pages of pure repetition.

    Still, it's not so terrible that I will throw it away or anything, but I'm really trying hard not to buy another book of Kessler's; I don't want to contribute any more money at all to his retirement.

    2-0 out of 5 stars There are no secrets revealed.That's expected, though.
    The CIA is a secretive organization.So it comes as no surprise that a book that states that it reveals the top secrets of the CIA is merely a hodgepodge of technical mumbo jumbo relating to how the agency works.It is not very informative, but what can you really expect?No one is really going to get to the bottom of what the CIA knows presently and what they are telling the president.It is better that way.Policymakers are able to surprise our enemies.At the same time, because the agency is secretive, we are able to benefit from novels and movies that probably exaggerate the day to day life of a CIA spy.If you're really interested in knowing secrets, I'd suggest reading a crime novel or joining the CIA itself.But this book does not help.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Quick overview, lacks substance and gets repetetive
    This book gives a good overview of the CIA structure, depicting each department individually. In doing so, the author jumps chronologically and repeats himself. This book had very few accounts of what CIA actually does, apart from a lot of references to the Inran-Contra affair (not exactly explained in the book). Apart from explaining how CIA is structured and giving a couple of semi-bios CIA directors this book leaves you wanting to read something else on the subject. ... Read more

    Isbn: 067173458X
    Sales Rank: 11167
    Subjects:  1. Espionage    2. General    3. History: American    4. Military - Intelligence/Espionage    5. Nonfiction - True Crime / Espionage    6. Current Events / General   


    Minox TLX Subminiature 8 x 11mm Camera Set
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    list price: $995.99
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    Editorial Review

    The Minox TLX comes as a set and includes the 8 x 11 flash. Small and handy in size, it is big in technology and imaging performance. The advantages of this classic are not only appreciated by the professionals. You can rely on the Minox TLX to provide great family and holiday photos. It is light, robust, and can be used for all purposes. ... Read more


    • Subminiature camera with 8 x 11mm film format
    • Minox 8 x 11mm flash included
    • 4-element 15mm Minox lens f/3, 5/15mm
    • CDS exposure meter
    • Range setting from 7 inches to infinity
    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The camera spies rely on
    When doing clandestine photography, small size, stealth and reliability are requirements.This is the reason the Minox cameras have been the choice for 3 generations.

    The Minox TLX is no exception.

    This is a camera that can be easily carried in your pocket every day, yet gives you images of astounding quality.Barely larger than a disposable lighter, the TLX is quiet and smooth in its operation.Its ergonomic design allows for large or small hands to operate it comfortably, despite its diminutive dimensions.

    The titanium finish minimizes glare, and keeps your camera looking nice even after hard use.Even the retention chain has measuring beads to help you focus in on those tiny objects you could never photograph before.

    Never again have to say, "Wow, I wish I had a camera!"With a Minox you will always have one handy. ... Read more

    Asin: B00004U0EA
    Subjects:  1. Camera (Cameras)    2. Underwater (Under Water)    3. Specialty (Special)   

    RCA 34000RE3 Digital Voice Recorder
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    list price: $149.99
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    Editorial Review

    The RCA 34000RE3 compact digital voice recorder can store up to 238minutes of dictation or up to 199 memos in its built-in flash memory. Recordwith the built-in microphone or with an external microphone and listen backthrough the built-in speaker or included earphone. Controls include play/stop,search, record mode/pause, record/stop, and erase. You can also search forwardand backward for important messages. This recorder runs on two AAA batteries,which are included. It comes with a belt clip and earphone. ... Read more


    • Records with built-in microphone or external microphone
    • Records up to 199 memos
    • Searches forward and backward for important messages
    • Compact digital voice recorder
    • Up to 238 minutes of recording time
    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars I bought it for what it it, and it is good at it!
    As others have mentioned here, I bought this unit to record in digital format, to have a small unit, easy to use and high quality audio recording.It does all that very well.If you are looking for more features, this is not the unit for you, but if you want long battery life with high quality audio in a small package, this is for you.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Failed Twice
    While I like the operation, the size, the shape, etc., I don't like the fact that I've replaced it twice. Unit A1 failed and I mailed it for warranty replacment. Being addicted, I ordered another right away; figuring that it's an electronic device and [things] happen. I figured wrong. Unit B1 has now failed in the same manner. Unit A1 was replaced promptly. I'm now using Unit A2, and have returned Unit B1 for replacment. But I have no confidence. I'm buying another, different, unit. Unit B2 and probably Unit A2 can be emergency backups.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Simple, compact, good microphone
    If you believe in the 80/20 rule (80% of the work gets done by 20% of the functionality), then you'll go for this recorder. I could write a long list of the things it doesn't do. For example, it doesn't have message folders, no date/time stamp, no automated voice activitation, etc.

    What it does do is provide one of the smallest, really useful notes recorders around. It really does slip in your pocket. It just seems to naturally fit in your hand for those quick notes of brilliance that hit you while driving down the road.It has high quality electret condensor microphone that seems to be very sensitive.Its tiny speaker is good for speech but doesn't have much volume. It comes with a good earphone. However, don't record with the earphone plugged in!It monitors what you say and there is a slight delay from the time you speak to the time you hear it in your earphone. It will drive you crazy!

    This recorder is not for everyone. You really have to have a focus on its positive attributes, but if those are your hot buttons, you'll love it. ... Read more

    Asin: B000050G9Q
    Subjects:  1. Battery    2. Two Pack    3. Portable Digital Voice Recorder (Personal)   

    Night Owl Compact Night Vision Binocular
    Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    list price: $700.00
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    Editorial Review

    Night Owl's compact binoculars are ideal for individuals who intend tooperate them for extended periods of time. Take them boating, fishing, or usethem for navigation and long-term surveillance and security. They offer high- performance 30,000x light amplification with a fully integrated illuminator. With 4x image magnification, you'll be able to view all the details of yournight scenes. These Night Owl binoculars provide high quality optics in alightweight and compact package. ... Read more


    • Perfect for recreational or surveillance use
    • High-performance 30,000x light amplification
    • Powerful 4x image magnification
    • High-quality optics
    • Lightweight and compact
    Reviews (2)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Useless product
    I do not know if the binoculars I received were faulty, but this Russian made product has such poor performance that it doesn't serve any purpose. These binoculars cannot be properly focussed and the clarity is nonexistant.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great pair of night vision binoculars.
    Night Owl has created a quality pair of binoculars for a decent price.I was expecting much less from a pair of binoculars of this price, instead, i was pleasntly surprized by the night vision capabilities, as well as the field of view for these glasses.Overall a good buy. ... Read more

    Asin: B00004THMX
    Subjects:  1. NightOwl    2. binocular    3. night vision scope nite    4. Night Vision    5. Binoculars (Binocular)    6. Camouflage    7. Scope (Scopes)   

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