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Michael Goodman's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Michael Goodman recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Michael Goodman's favorite book recommendations of all time.

A fascinating and unique history of the launch of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service through the unusual life of its founder, Mansfield Cumming. * Sir Mansfield Cumming, the founder of the British Secret Service and the original 'C', has until now been a shadowy figure. For this authorised biography, the Secret Intelligence Service has released to Alan Judd, Cumming's voluminous diaries, which have never been seen outside the Service and will be put back into storage in perpetuity when Judd has used them. * The result is likely to be the most sensational biography of the season, and the... more
Recommended by Michael Goodman, and 1 others.

Michael GoodmanMansfield Cumming was the first head of MI6 and he signed himself off as ‘C’ in green ink. Since then they have all signed off as ‘C’ in green ink. He had been in the navy but suffered from seasickness. He was in charge of Boom defence in 1909. There was fear that Germany was amassing troops to invade Britain and the secret service bureau was set up – the part that was to round up Germans spies... (Source)

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Most Secret War

Reginald Jones was nothing less than a genius. And his appointment to the Intelligence Section of Britain's Air Ministry in 1939 led to some of the most astonishing scientific and technological breakthroughs of the Second World War.

In Most Secret War he details how Britain stealthily stole the war from under the Germans' noses by outsmarting their intelligence at every turn. He tells of the 'battle of the beams'; detecting and defeating flying bombs; using chaff to confuse radar; and many other ingenious ideas and devices.
Jones was the man with the plan to save...
Recommended by Michael Goodman, and 1 others.

Michael GoodmanThe First World War was the chemists’ war and WWII was the physicists’ war. Jones was a scientist in Oxford doing his PhD and was interested in looking at infra red, which became very important for night bombing missions. They were all looking at what the Germans were doing and what counter-measures could be taken, how you could foil them. Science is very important in warfare, of course, and... (Source)

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William K. Harvey was the CIA’s most daring and successful field operator during the tense, early days of the Cold War. Extremely intelligent, a dedicated martini drinker, coarse in manner and appearance, both loved and hated, he was larger than life. But just as Harvey reached his zenith, fate and personal flaws caused his swift, dramatic downfall. Bayard Stockton provides a rich portrait of the man, including accounts from Harvey’s family, friends, and former CIA colleagues who have never spoken publicly before.Harvey’s intelligence career began at the FBI, where he hunted Nazi spies. After... more
Recommended by Michael Goodman, and 1 others.

Michael GoodmanThis is a biography of another covert CIA operations man, Bill Harvey. He was a great character, one of those very old-fashioned people – he always carried a gun and he believed that the operation was worth everything, no matter what the cost. He is rumoured to have taken his gun with him into the Oval Office at one stage and couldn’t utter a sentence without profanities. He was head of Berlin... (Source)

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Recommended by Michael Goodman, and 1 others.

Michael GoodmanThis was probably the first book detailing Soviet offensive operations and American defensive counter-intelligence. It’s about the CIA’s largely unsuccessful efforts to root out suspected Soviet spies within the US intelligence community. It tells the story of James Angleton, the man in charge of counter-intelligence at the CIA, that is, stopping people from infiltrating the organisation. There... (Source)

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Thomas has drawn on his original research in CIA archives and interviews with scores of old agency hands to evoke the urgency and uncertainty, as well as the giddiness, of the shadow wars of the 1950s and early 1960s when the country, with reason, felt itself in danger from Soviet-led Communist aggression. Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes, and Desmond FitzGerald embodied the confidence, daring, and arrogance of the WASP elite that dominated the CIA at its founding. Thomas brings these men to life as they move boldly, and a bit innocently, into the corrosive life of secrets. He... more
Recommended by Michael Goodman, and 1 others.

Michael GoodmanThis is about the four people who were recruited into the predecessor of the CIA during WWII and how they were brought back in when the organisation was recreated in 1947 to resurrect their wartime successes. The idea was that the CIA would act as a warning signal, as the dog that barked before the attack so that there would never be another Pearl Harbor. They were to use wartime actions in... (Source)

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