A Short Course in the Secret War : an Authoritative Inside Report on the Theory and Technique of Contemporary Espionage by Christopher Felix
New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., 1964. Second printing. Hardcover. 314 pages ; 22 cm. Price clipped dust jacket with foxing visible on jacket. Musty odor to pages. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
A Short Course in the Secret War
By Christopher Felix
This authoritative book, written under a pseudonym by a former U.S. government official and veteran of many secret service operations, reveals in full the reasons and methods employed by nations in obtaining intelligence by undercover means. Candid and critical—yet realistically optimistic—A Short Course in the Secret War provides a fascinating and eye-opening inside look at the intelligence operations which are today's necessary counterpart to international diplomacy.
The author, who has had many years of experience as an agent and as a case officer directing important U. S. intelligence operations, explains fully why America, as well as all other nations, must employ covert tactics to obtain information vital to our defense. Because of the apparent contradiction between overt, idealistic national policy and covert, "underhanded," intelligence operations, uninformed Americans are dismayed by fiascos such as the U-2 incident and the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and so Felix begins his book by telling us exactly what the secret war really is and why the nations of the world give tacit consent to the need to operate under cover. Felix goes on to explain how secret information is gathered, why such information is a powerful weapon and a deterrent to war, how an intelligence operation is set up, the psychology of the field agent (today's term for "spy") and of the case officer who directs him. Felix details the techniques of modern spying, which are far different from what they used to be— and from what the public imagines them to be. These techniques include espionage, counter-espionage, guerilla warfare, "spontaneous" demonstrations, the cultivation of informers, and the need for and use of "cover." Then, to show the rules and theories of the secret war in action, Felix uses the actual case history of a prolonged operation in which he took part: the secret intelligence activities against the Russians in Hungary immediately following World War If.
Theory and technique, including a vigorous critique of our own operations and the public's attitude toward them, and an illustrative case history combine to make this tough-minded, how-it-is-done account of the secret war not only stimulating reading but an important book that will be read and argued about for a long time to come.
Praise for A SHORT COURSE IN THE SECRET WAR
"Mr. Felix has written the thinking man's spy book." —The New York Times Book Review
"Mr. Felix flavors a vast quantity of information with the piquant sauce of wit, includes some lessons of history, and, along the way, offers some new rules for future projects . . . a superb thriller." The New Yorker
"Absorbing reading . . . unfailingly interesting and now and then a little disturbing. A Short Course in the Secret War is a powerful book. It's an aid, moreover, to understanding our times and the cruel burdens they lay upon decent men." —The Wall Street Journal
"Scores of books about espionage have been published in recent years. . . . Few (none that I know of) have had such a ring of cold authority as A Short Course in the Secret War . . . good and frightening reading." —Orville Prescott, The New York Times
"A Short Course in the Secret War aims at—and intelligently succeeds in—explaining the theory and purpose of cloak-and-dagger work." —Time
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