rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 1: p. 82
Sources: Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage
David Ettinger

David Ettinger, International Affairs and Political Science Librarian, Gelman Library, George Washington University

Hastedt, a professor in the Justice Studies Department at James Madison University, is a prolific author and has written or edited a number of works related to U.S. foreign policy, intelligence, and related topics. These two volumes, a spinoff of the first chapter of his Espionage: A Reference Handbook (ABC-Clio, 2003) is the latest of his offerings, contributing to the surprising paucity of encyclopedic treatments focusing specifically on American espionage. A woefully outdated comparable reference is G. J. A. O’Toole’s The Encyclopedia of American Intelligence and Espionage: From the Revolutionary War to the Present (Facts on File, 1988), which is curiously missing from the extensive bibliography in volume 2.

The arrangement of the book is a puzzlement. Touted by the publisher as uniquely chronologically organized, covering the same periods as in Hastedt’s aforementioned work (the American Revolution, the early Republic, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and the interwar years, World War II, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War era), it is decidedly not. Rather, the several hundred cross-referenced entries, varying in length from less than a page to several, are alphabetically arranged. This is, in some respects, unfortunate, since the promoted historical arrangement would, in fact, probably have been preferable, given the book’s purpose.

The List of Entries speaks to the wide range of topics treated, which focus primarily on individuals (some obscure), organizations, and significant events. The entries are complemented by a list of “References and Further Reading.” Although each is “signed” by its contributor (there are over 80 of them named), their credentials and affiliations are not indicated. In addition to the remaining entries, volume two contains an 11-page glossary, general bibliography, and index. Nowhere to be found therein, however, are the advertised dedicated sections (mentioned in the blurb on the back cover) that provide “overviews of important agencies in the American intelligence community and intelligence organizations in other nations … , plus details of spy trade techniques, and a concluding section on the portrayal of espionage in literature and film.” These are presumably covered in the entries themselves.

The disparity between the work as publicized and the final result suggests the proposed original arrangement was changed, but somebody in public relations didn’t get the word. This does not undermine the books’ overall value, however. Notwithstanding the fact it does not live up to its billing, it is substantively solid. Bound to appeal to a varied audience, academic and public libraries alike should seriously consider adding it to their collections.



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