New in Nonfiction: Spine-Tingling True Spy Stories

If you find spy stories thrilling and captivating, the Abbot Public Library has recommendations from our newest collection additions.

Our previous post on nonfiction spy stories introduced brilliant British historian and writer Ben Macintyre. His series of books on 20th century espionage were very highly regarded.

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy is Ben Macintyre’s newest book, very much anticipated by his numerous readers and fans. It is a story of the most celebrated female spy (alias Agent Sonya), who had worked for the Soviet Union. Her long (1907-2000), very effective espionage work, full of many accomplishments, and her colorful personal life make her an excellent subject for a nonfiction spy thriller. Ben Macintyre has excelled at creating a narrative centered around this very complex and extraordinary person. You can find a review in The New York Times here. Reserve a print copy for Curbside Pickup or check it out in ebook format on Overdrive.

Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs by Nancy Greenspan is a biography of one of the most infamous spies of the Cold War, another true-life story of a spy who belonged to the same ring as Agent Sonya. 

A brilliant scientist and a Nazi fighter, Klaus Fuchs immigrated to Great Britain and soon joined the atomic bomb research project… at the same time handing the materials over to the Russians. Unlike previous biographies of Klaus Fuchs, Greenspan’s book features a biographical account of a very complex character, portraying him as a passionate person with very strong ideological beliefs that motivated him to share secrets with Cold War enemies of the British and Americans. Very well researched due to access to numerous German, British, and American archives, as well as Fuchs’s correspondences, the story, full of tension, captures readers entirely. Here is The New York Times review.

In addition to spies, the library also owns books on American spymasters and the Intelligence Agency itself, their accomplishments and failures:

Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes is an incredible story of the CIA and the British Intelligence Service cooperation in cracking the most damaging spy ring of the Cold War in the 1960s. Barnes uses tools and his skills as a fiction writer to make this real-life story as fast-paced and compelling as fiction.

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War: A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson, war correspondent and writer, is a story of the spying world during WWII and, later, the Cold War, through the eyes and lives of four remarkable, very talented American spies who helped shape the earliest CIA operations. Read The New York Times review here.

The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future by Chris Whipple is a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the CIA recounted through the actions of its directors. The book is well-documented and based on interviews with every living CIA director. It delivers an informative history of the agency, describing how it works and what the director’s job is.

Reflecting on some of the operational failures, the author proposes some reforms to improve the agency’s performance. Here is a NYT review.

As always, these books can be reserved through the library, either in print or digital format, and sometimes both. 

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/the Libby app with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for Curbside Pickup.

History: New Books on WWII

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, which ended in Europe on May 7th after Germany’s unconditional surrender, but was not officially over in Asia until September 2nd, when Japan formally surrendered in a ceremony aboard USS Missouri.

For history buffs, military history buffs, and WWII buffs, as well as those wanting to learn more about the previous major historical event that affected the whole world, we created a curated collection of new books:

The latest Eric Larson’s book is about Winston Churchill as the newly appointed Prime Minister in the early days of the war.

Though Churchill is the main character of this story, the book is more about the country and, especially, London and its denizens during the Blitz. The inclusion of witness accounts, taken from the diaries of those who tried to survive the horrors, lend a particularly chilling and poignant tone to the narrative. It’s on the NYT Bestseller List. Accessible as an ebook or audiobook

Sinclair McKay’s book is about the bombing of Dresden by Allied forces, which occurred in February 1945 and is considered one of the most controversial actions during WWII. Was it a war crime against German civilians or a calculated step to a victorious end?

The book was reviewed as “well researched, powerfully written and balanced.”

In the Pacific theatre, a group of five American pilots, inspired and motivated by legendary WWI pilot Eddie Rickenbecker, started a wild race for the title of America’s greatest fighter pilot during combat against the Japanese air force. Read about it in Race of Aces by John R. Bruning.

ebook format
ebook format
audiobook format

Martha Maccallum also writes about the Pacific and its battles, and the heroic and courageous men that fought them. Her book, Unknown Valor, is accessible as an ebook and audiobook.

The Battle of Normandy was the epic invasion by the Allied forces that marked the beginning of the end of war in Europe. Begun on June 6th,1944, it was known as D-Day.

Lately, a number of books were published on the incredible contribution of women to the war effort, and the role they played in the Allied path to victory. These are books about women who became spies and operated in Europe. True stories, based on exhaustive research, all these books gained much praise and became bestsellers.

As always, all these titles are available through Overdrive/the Libby app with your library card. Click the book covers above to access the titles in Overdrive.