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Rory Cormac's Top Book Recommendations

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

'One of the biggest intelligence coups in recent years' The Times

For years KGB operative Vasili Mitrokhin risked his life hiding top-secret material from Russian secret service archives beneath his family dacha. When he was exfiltrated to the West he took with him what the FBI called 'the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source'. This extraordinary bestselling book is the result.

'Co-authored in a brilliant partnership by Christopher Andrew and the renegade Soviet archivist himself ... This is a truly global exposé of major...
Recommended by Rory Cormac, and 1 others.

Rory CormacI wanted my book choices to reflect that all different states are up to this stuff. This is a really, really important book, with a very fascinating story of how it came about. It’s based on top-secret KGB foreign intelligence archives which, along with the archivist, Mitrokhin, were smuggled out of Russia in 1992 by MI6. Mitrokhin collaborated with perhaps the world’s most preeminent... (Source)

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The Secret History of MI6

The authorized history of the world's oldest foreign intelligence service, drawing on hitherto secret documents. Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) was born a century ago amid fears of the rising power of other countries, especially Germany. The next 40 years saw MI6 taking an increasingly important & largely hidden role in shaping history. This revelatory account draws on a wealth of archival materials never before seen by outsiders to unveil the inner workings of the world's 1st spy agency. MI6's early days were haphazard but it was quickly forged into an effective organization... more
Recommended by Rory Cormac, and 1 others.

Rory CormacWe’re turning to the UK now. Keith’s book is really useful because it highlights that Britain does this stuff too; we’re not just talking about the CIA and American activity. The book is particularly important because it is an authorised history. It’s the first time an academic or any outsider has ever had access to MI6 files. MI6 are notoriously closed and British authorities tend to fetishize... (Source)

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A frank and refreshing evaluation of several Chief Executives, their Directors of Central Intelligence, and even some lower in the hierarchy, Executive Secrets shines light on the development and execution of foreign policy through the understanding of the tools available, of which covert action may be least known and understood. This book is a great tool for the press, the public, and many political appointees in the National Security System. A History Book Club Selection with a foreword by Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down. less
Recommended by Rory Cormac, and 1 others.

Rory CormacThis is by a CIA officer who turned historian. This is a really useful book because it cuts through a lot of the myths. There are so many books on the CIA. Many of them focus on failure and many of them heavily mythologise the CIA as this rampant organisation running wild, going around and killing people left right and centre without any oversight and without any accountability. They’re shown as... (Source)

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Recommended by Rory Cormac, and 1 others.

Rory CormacIt’s on the list because it’s probably the first serious book on covert action. It’s from 1987 but it’s a classic and holds up really well. It offers a really useful insight that was relevant in the 1980s but is also very relevant to understanding the unacknowledged interventionism that we see all around us today. Treverton worked on the Church Committee in the 1970s, which was the big... (Source)

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The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, from the man hailed by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”

The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their...
Recommended by Noah Kagan, Rory Cormac, and 2 others.

Noah KaganI’m shocked this book was released. It shares unbelievable stories about Israel secret intelligence and perseverance. (Source)

Rory CormacIn stark contrast to some of the other books which were written by insiders, this book is 100 per cent unofficial and unauthorised. It’s written by a journalist, albeit a journalist with a history PhD. It’s based on interviews and documents that he’s been given over the years. It’s the kind of story that the Israelis didn’t want telling and, in fact, tried to prevent the book from being published. (Source)

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