Espionage, Spies, Special Operations Executive, Spy Fiction
This is the story of Rudolf Roessler and his espionage against the Nazis. Although based in Switzerland he had ten well-placed friends in Germany who fed him important information about the invasions of Poland and Russia. Because he refused to reveal his sources, his tips were disregarded by the Allies.
[Ames, Aldrich], Tim Weiner, David Johnston, Neil A. Lewis: Betrayal, The Story of Aldrich Ames, An American Spy. Random House. New York: 1995. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. viii, 312. Illustrated: (16) pp. of plates. List of Sources. Index. Fine copy in dj. $10.00
Bailey, Roderick, in association with the Imperial War Museum: Forgotten Voices of the Secret War, An Inside History of Special Operations During the Second World War. Introduction by Sebastian Faulks. Ebury Press. (London): 2008. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Pp. xx, 384, (iv). Illustrated with monochrome photographs. Glossary. Index of Contributors. General Index. First free end-paper has large piece cut away; small dent in the front cover; else near fine copy in dj. $60.00
Blake, George: No Other Choice, An Autobiography. Simon & Schuster. New York: 1990. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. xii. 286, (iv). Illustrated: (8) pp. of plates. Fine copy in dj. $25.00
[Blunt, Anthony], Miranda Carter: Anthony Blunt, His Lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. New York: 2001. First American Edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xviii, 590. Illustrated. Index. Fine copy in dj. $18.00
[Blunt, Anthony], John Costello: Mask of Treachery. Collins. London: 1988. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $15.00
[Blunt, Anthony], Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman: Conspiracy of Silence, The Secret Life of Anthony Blunt. Farrar Straus Giroux. New York: 1987. Reprinted. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Fine copy in dj. $16.00
[Chekhova, Olga], Antony Beevor: The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. Viking. New York: 2004. First American edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xvi, 300, (iv). Illustrated: (16) pp. of plates. Map. Notes. Checklist. Index. Fine copy in dj. $10.00
Dams, Carsten and Michael Stolle: The Gestapo, Power and Terror in the Third Reich. Oxford University Press. Oxford: 2014. First U.K. edition (Originally published as Die Gestapo: Herrschaft und Terror im Dritten Reich. Verlag C. H. Beck; München: 2011). 8vo. Boards. Pp. xvi, 234, (vi). Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dust-jacket. $20.00
Deighton, Len: Berlin Game. Hutchinson. London: 1983. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $18.00
Deighton, Len: Mexico Set. Hutchinson. London: 1984. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $18.00
[Donovan, William J.], Corey Ford: Donovan of OSS. Little, Brown & Co. Boston: 1970. First edition. 8vo. Cloth. Pp. xvi, 366, (ii). Illustrated. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Near fine copy in dust-jacket. $20.00
An engrossing novel about a young Scots woman who volunteers to go to German-occupied France as an agent for the SOE. But she also hopes to rescue a particular RAF pilot who has been shot down.
[Fry, Varian], Sheila Isenberg: A Hero of Our Own, The Story of Varian Fry. Random House. New York: 2001. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xii, 356. 16 pp. plates. Checklist. Index. Fine copy in dj. $15.00
In 1940 Varian Fry was recruited by a group of influential Americans, including Eleanor Roosevelt, to help free some distinguished writers, painters and scientists who were trapped in Marseille, France. Among them were Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Marcel Duchamp, Hannah Arendt, André Breton, and André Mason.
Furst, Alan: Dark Voyage, A Novel. Random House. New York: 2004. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Pp. (x), 260, (ii). Map. Fine copy in dj. $15.00
Glees, Anthony: The Secrets of the Service, A Story of Soviet Subversion of Western Intelligence. Carroll & Graf. New York: 1987. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $15.00.
[Granville, Christine], Clare Mulley: The Spy Who Loved, The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville, Britain's First Female Agent of the Second World War. Macmillan. London: 2012. First published, later imprint. 8vo. Boards. Pp. xx, 426, (ii). Appendices. Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dj. $16.00
[Harnack, Mildred], Shareen Blair Brysac: Resisting Hitler, Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra. Oxford University Press. New York: 2000. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Fine copy in dj. $18.00
Mildred Harnack was an American woman, who with her German husband Arvid and their friends, ran one of the most effective anti-Nazi resistance groups until they were captured and executed.
Knightley, Phillip: The Second Oldest Profession, Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century. W. W. Norton. New York: 1987. First American edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. xii, 430. Illustrated: (16) pp. of plates. Source notes. Checklist. Index. Fine copy in fine dust-jacket. $26.00
Spying is an ancient human activity. As early as the 1700s BC in the city of Mara, Mesopotamia, there was an intelligence bureau whose head is believe to have been called “Little Gnat.” But modern espionage began with the English novelist, William Le Queux, and his obsessions about an insidious German spy network in the years just before the First World War. The author remarks, “It is clear that he [Le Queux] rapidly ceases to distinguish fact from fantasy.” Have things changed much in a hundred years?
Lampe, David: Hitler's Savage Canary, A History of the Danish Resistance in World War II. Foreword by Birger Riis-Jørgensen. Also with the 1957 Foreword by Air Chief Marshal Sir Basil Embry. Skyhorse Publishing. New York: 2011. First edition thus (originally published by Cassell & Company, London, in 1957). 8vo. Boards. Pp. xviii, 238. Illustrated: (8) pp. of plates. Index. Fine copy in dj. $16.00
Lathrop, Charles E.: The Literary Spy, The Ultimate Source for Quotations on Espionage & Intelligence. Yale University Press. New Haven and London: 2004. First edition. Small 4to. Boards. Pp. xviii, 478. Checklist. Indices. Fine copy in dj. $12.00
With sections on Assassinations, Deception, Failures, Leaks, Nut Cases, Treason and many others.
Lawton, John: Bluffing Mr. Churchill. Atlantic Monthly Press. New York: 2001. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. (xiv), 322. Fine copy in dj. $12.00
This is an engrossing espionage/police thriller set in London during 1941. Rudolf Hess has arrived unexpectedly in Scotland, the air-raids still continue but less so now, and the Soviet Union is about to be invaded. An American agent and a British Chief Inspector are trying to find one of their own agents who does not want to be found, while at least three others are also hunting for him.
Lawton, John: Second Violin. Atlantic Monthly Press. New York: 2007. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Pp. (xii), 420. Fine copy in dj. $10.00
Le Carré, John: The Little Drummer Girl. Hodder & Stoughton. London: 1983. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $32.00
Le Carré, John: A Most Wanted Man, A Novel. Scribner. New York: 2008. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. (x), 326. Fine copy in fine clipped dj dust-jacket. $5.00
Le Carré, John: The Secret Pilgrim. Knopf. New York: 1991. First edition. 8vo. Cloth. Fine copy in dj. $25.00
Le Carré, John: A Small Town in Germany. Heinemann. London: 1968. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Fine copy in dj. $65.00
Leigh, David: The Wilson Plot, How the Spycatchers and Their American Allies Tried to Overthrow the British Government. Pantheon Books. New York: 1988. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. xvi, 272. Fine copy in dj. $10.00.
McCormick, Donald: Who's Who in Spy Fiction. Taplinger Publishing Co. New York: 1977. First edition. 8vo. Boards. As new in dj. $15.00
Macintyre, Ben: Agent Zigzag, A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal. Harmony Books. New York: 2007. First American Edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xiv, 366. Illustrated: (16) pp. of plates. Notes. Selected Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dj. $28.00
Eddie Chapman was a minor criminal who fatefully fell into the hands of the Nazis. They trained him to return to Britain and spy for them. However, things did not work out quite as expected.
Macintyre, Ben: Operation Mincemeat, How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. Harmony Books. New York: 2010. First American Edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. x, 402, (iv). Illustrated: (16) pp. of plates. Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dj. $24.00
An idea originated by Ian Fleming, then taken up by two spy-masters operating in a cramped room beneath the Admiralty in London, was to provide the Germans with disinformation about where the next Allied action would take place in the Mediterranean. The hoax involved making sure they found the corpse of someone who appeared to be a British officer carrying private letters between several of the top British commanders in London and North Africa. The body chosen for the operation was actually that of an impoverished man from Wales named Glyndwr Michael who had taken his own life, but a new identity for him was created, and he was left in the sea off the coast of southern Spain where he drifted towards shore and was found by Spanish authorities. The faked letters were eventually shown to German agents who gullibly accepted the clues about Allied plans. In the end Hitler was deceived, and British and American forces landed on Sicily against somewhat less resistance than they might have encountered otherwise.
[Maclean, Donald], Robert Cecil: A Divided Life, a Biography of Donald Maclean. Foreword by Lord Annan. Bodley Head. London: 1988. First edition. 8vo. Boards. Pp. xx, 212. Fine copy in dj. $22.00
Marks, Leo: Between Silk and Cyanide, A Codemaker's War 1941-1945. The Free Press. New York: 1998. First American edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. (x), 614. Illustrated: (8) pp. of plates. Appendices. Index. Fine copy in dj. $30.00
The author was the son of Benjamin Marks, the founder of the famous London bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road. He was perhaps the most gifted cryptographer who worked for the Special Operations Executive during the War. Later he became a screenwriter and is remembered for Peeping Tom, directed by Michael Powell in 1960.
Pincher, Chapman: Treachery, Betrayals, Blunders, and Cover-ups: Six Decades of Espionage Against America and Great Britain. Random House. New York: 2009. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xiv, 684, (ii). Appendix. Note on the Sources. Archival Sources. Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dj. $45.00
Although most of the people who worked in the British security services were honorable, quite a few were not. The most famous of the latter were the so-called Cambridge Five—Philby, Blunt, Burgess, Maclean, and Caircross—who are believed now, shamelessly throughout the War and beyond, to have handed over a total of 17,526 secret documents to Stalin's espionages services. Here is what Pincher writes about Blunt, although the same could be said about any of the others: “...his subsequent behavior over many years was to demonstrate the power of the Communist ideal to induce a wellborn, intelligent man to betray family, friends, and his nation, unreservedly and in perpetuity, to benefit an alien country.” It seems, however, that their treachery was enabled by willful negligence at the very top, in particular by Roger Hollis, head of MI5, whom the author believes was a long-term Soviet agent. It is a surprising story, because Hollis did not appear to have any personal virtues; he was, according to Pincher, “a university dropout with no foreign languages, little field experience, an appalling counterespionage record, a negative personality, mediocre qualities of leadership, doubtful health, and a mistress installed in his office . . .”
It may be wondered why privileged men were enthralled by the Communist ideal and remained faithful to it. To explain perhaps it is necessary to recall the tumultuous early history of the 20th Century. The First World War ended with the death of countless young men, and for those who had survived only ten years later they had to endure the Great Depression which impoverished many of them. In a number of European countries, Britain included, the political right gained strength. On the left the alternative was Communism which seemed to provide solutions to what were perceived as the failures of Capitalism. The first test between the two sides came during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 which was followed quickly by an even bigger one with Nazi Germany. What appealed to many was that the “Russians were projected throughout as superior—‘a new race of men’ forged by Lenin and Stalin out of a basically indolent people, ‘proving that human nature can be forcibly changed.’” Hollis and the others cast their lot in with the Russians and stuck to their anti-fascist—and anti-American—convictions despite the clear evidence of Stalin's brutality. Pincher adds: “Those of us who lived to see the Soviet system collapse in utter failure are best able to measure the political judgment of those, like. . .Philby, and possibly Hollis, who were so determined to shackle us all within its obscene orbit.”
[Philby, Kim], Genrikh Borovik: The Philby Files, the Secret Life of Master Spy Kim Philby. Edited with an Introduction by Phillip Knightley. Translated by Antonina W. Bouis. Little, Brown. Boston: 1994. First edition. Cloth-backed boards. Fine copy in dj. $15.00
[Philby, Kim], Rufina Philby, Mikhail Lyubimov, Hayden Peake: The Private Life of Kim Philby, The Moscow Years. Fromm International. New York: 2000. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Fine copy in dj. $15.00.
Romanones, Aline Countess of: The Spy Went Dancing. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York: 1990. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. 320. Edges foxed, else fine copy in dj. $8.50
Stafford, David: Secret Agent, The True Story of the Covert War Against Hitler. The Overlook Press. Woodstock & New York: 2001. First American Edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. 254, (ii). Map. Bibliography. Index. Fine copy in dj. $28.00
This is an account of the Special Operations Executive which was written in conjunction with a BBC series broadcast in 2000. It is very well-written and most interesting.
[Straight, Michael], Roland Perry: Last of the Cold War Spies, The Life of Michael Straight, The Only American in Britain's Cambridge Spy Ring. Da Capo Books. Cambridge: 2005. First edition. 8vo. Two-tone boards. Pp. xii, 396. Illustrated: (4) pp. of plates. Notes. Checklist. Index. Fine copy in dj. $18.00
Michael Straight came from a wealthy New England family which owned The New Republic magazine. He attended Cambridge University in the 1930s where he befriended a number of men who would later become famous as Soviet spies, among them Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess. His involvement in their espionage was not clear during his lifetime, although he was certainly suspected. According to this account he was much more involved than was known previously.
[Vogel, Wolfgang], Craig R. Whitney: Spy Trader, Germany's Devil's Advocate and the Darkest Secrets of the Cold War. Random House. New York: 1993. First edition. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. xl, 376. 8 pp. of plates. Index. Fine copy in dj. $8.00.
Wright, Peter: Spycatcher, The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer. Viking Press. New York: 1987. Reprinted. 8vo. Cloth-backed boards. Pp. (vi), 394. Illustrated:  pp. of plates. Index. Fine copy in dust-jacket. $10.00
When this book was published, it created a storm. Peter Wright was a scientist who worked for MI5. In the 1960s he came to be involved in the search for “The Fifth Man,” another of the communist traitors who had infiltrated the service from the 1930s. He was convinced it was Roger Hollis, the long-time head of MI5 itself.
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A few interesting Films
Cambridge Spies. Directed by Tim Fywell. Written by Peter Moffat. Starring Tom Hollander, Samuel West, Rupert Penry-Jones, Toby Stephens. 2003. 2 disc DVD set. 234 minutes. Coded for regions 2 (Europe) and 4 and recorded in the PAL format but playable in some DVD machines and in most computers. Fine set with original liner notes. $10.00
This film is a travesty and a waste of real acting talent. Almost nothing shown actually happened in that way, or at that time, and so much is left out, including people who influenced the principals. Much is trivialized: the Russian agents are easy to spot with their heavy glasses and ill-fitting clothes. If you are interested in this story—as you should be—I recommend various books on offer here, about Philby, Blunt, and Straight, and particularly the account by Chapman Pincher.
Carve Her Name With Pride. Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Starring Virginia McKenna, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner, Alain Saury. 1958. 119 minutes. Black & white. DVD with widescreen format. Fine copy with liner notes. $14.00
The story of the heroine, Violette Szabo, who volunteered to be an agent for the S.O.E during World War Two. She was sent to France several times. Eventually she was captured and executed. A most moving story and wonderfully filmed.
Charlotte Gray. Directed by Gillian Armstrong. Based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks. Starring Cate Blanchett, Bill Crudup, Michael Gambon, Rupert Penry Jones, Anton Lesser, Ron Cook. 2001. DVD movie. 121 minutes. Color. Widescreen format. Fine with original liner notes. $12.00
The Falcon and the Snowman. Directed by John Schlesinger. Based on the book by Robert Lindsey. Screenplay by Steven Zaillian. Starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. 1984. DVD movie. 132 minutes. Widescreen format. Fine copy with original artwork. $15.00
Based on the real story of Chris Boyce whose job was in a secure communications center through which secrets of the CIA passed. Boyce was appalled at what he read and enlisted a boyhood friend to pass the information on to the Soviets. A compelling film with vivid performances by Hutton and Penn.
From Russia With Love. Directed by Terence Young. From the novel by Ian Fleming. Starring Sean Connery, Pedro Armendariz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Bernard Lee, Daniela Bianchi. 1963. DVD movie. 111 minutes. Widescreen format. Two disc set which includes interviews with Ian Fleming and a documentary about the producer Harry Saltzman. Fine copy. $14.00
Hidden Agenda. Directed by Ken Loach. Written by Jim Allen. Starring Brian Cox, Frances McDorman, Brad Dourif. 1990. 99 minutes. With both widescreen and standard formats. Fine copy with original liner notes. $16.00
This is based on the real experiences of John Stalker, then the deputy chief constable of Manchester, who was ordered to conduct an investigation into the murders of Gervaise McKerr and two other unarmed IRA men in 1982, only to discover that it was the British security service itself which had killed them. Stalker was removed from the inquiry shortly before his report was due—and in fact just as he was expecting to receive a tape from MI5 relating to the murders. To this day his report has never been published. And although it is not within the time frame of the movie, Stalker was later falsely accused of a crime and had to end his police career.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Directed by Martin Ritt. Based on the novel by John Le Carré. Starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner, Sam Wannamaker, Cyril Cusack. 1965. Black & white. Wide screen format with optional subtitles. Fine copy with original liner notes. $15.00
Z. Directed by Costa-Gravas. Screenplay by Jorge Semprun, from a novel by Vassili Vasilikos. Music by Mikis Theodorakis. Starring Yves Montand, Charles Denner, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant. 1968. 127 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Wide screen format. Fine copy with original artwork. $20.00