The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception
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The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception

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by H. Keith Melton, Robert Wallace
     
 

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Magic or spycraft? In 1953, against the backdrop of the Cold War, the CIA initiated a top-secret program, code-named MKULTRA, to counter Soviet mind-control and interrogation techniques. Realizing that clandestine officers might need to covertly deploy newly developed pills, potions, and powders against the adversary, the CIA hired America's most famous magician,

Overview

Magic or spycraft? In 1953, against the backdrop of the Cold War, the CIA initiated a top-secret program, code-named MKULTRA, to counter Soviet mind-control and interrogation techniques. Realizing that clandestine officers might need to covertly deploy newly developed pills, potions, and powders against the adversary, the CIA hired America's most famous magician, John Mulholland, to write two manuals on sleight of hand and undercover communication techniques.

In 1973, virtually all documents related to MKULTRA were destroyed. Mulholland's manuals were thought to be among them—until a single surviving copy of each, complete with illustrations, was recently discovered in the agency's archives.

The manuals reprinted in this work represent the only known complete copy of Mulholland's instructions for CIA officers on the magician's art of deception and secret communications.

Editorial Reviews

Peter Earnest
“An enchanting account of espionage and wizardry at their blackest.”
Tony and Jonna Mendez
“Melton and Wallace have achieved the ultimate mastery of the shadow world where CIA’s smoke and mirrors meet Hollywood’s art of magic, deception and illusion. Like any good stage show, the never-before-disclosed techniques are spellbinding. The history of espionage is expanded by this factual, fascinating account.”
Lance Burton
“A legendary ‘lost’ piece of magic history…It’s James Bond meets Harry Houdini!”
Jeff McBride
“Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician’s trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage.”
Danny Biederman
“Espionage and magic! A special thrill to read the once-classified CIA magician’s manual.”
Publishers Weekly
Intelligence historian Melton and retired CIA officer Wallace (coauthors of Spycraft) reunite for this unremarkable reproduction of a long-lost cold war–era relic. In 1953, the fledgling CIA hired professional magician John Mulholland to adapt his “techniques of stealth and misdirection” to the craft of espionage. Mulholland produced two illustrated manuals featuring a range of tricks from placing pills into drinks to stealing documents and avoiding detection. The classified manuals were believed to have been destroyed in 1973, but the authors discovered a copy in 2007 among recently declassified CIA archives. The manuals are reproduced along with enhanced illustrations and an extended introduction by Melton and Wallace. Despite the authors' best efforts to promote their discovery of Mulholland's work as a “rare piece of historical evidence” of the CIA's legacy of black arts, the manuals, with their earnest, how-to descriptions of surreptitiously spiking drinks, palming documents and signaling colleagues with a “feather in a hat band” seem more quaintly anachronistic than revealing or sinister. (Nov.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061725890
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Peter Earnest
“An enchanting account of espionage and wizardry at their blackest.”
Tony and Jonna Mendez
“Melton and Wallace have achieved the ultimate mastery of the shadow world where CIA’s smoke and mirrors meet Hollywood’s art of magic, deception and illusion. Like any good stage show, the never-before-disclosed techniques are spellbinding. The history of espionage is expanded by this factual, fascinating account.”
Danny Biederman
“Espionage and magic! A special thrill to read the once-classified CIA magician’s manual.”
Jeff McBride
“Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician’s trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage.”
Lance Burton
“A legendary ‘lost’ piece of magic history…It’s James Bond meets Harry Houdini!”

Meet the Author

H. Keith Melton, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is an intelligence historian and a specialist in clandestine technology and espionage "tradecraft." He is the author of several books, including CIA Special Weapons and Equipment, Clandestine Warfare, and The Ultimate Spy Book.

Robert Wallace retired from the CIA in 2003 with thirty-two years of service as an operations officer and senior executive, including an assignment as director of the Office of Technical Services. Wallace is coauthor, with H. Keith Melton, of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda.

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Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
valenpendragon More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly good book for people interested in the methods magicians tried to teach to spies back in the 1960s. Those methods and more are now the purview of Apollo Robbins, but he has yet to write a declassified book. The best part of this book is that the techniques will work, even on attentive spies or other magicians. The downside is that has moments of being slightly dry, but so does another book, Whiz Mobs from the 1970s, a book about the culture of pickpockets. The best takeaway from these books are changes in the way people think about the process of deception and spy craft in general. It is a good companion to the Sleight of Mind, for those doing research into techniques, like these.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Report the activities of DarkClan here. <br> Location: "Othello" result one or two.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great expose of the magicians thought process. The reader should not expect much from declassifed docs, however complete. Does stay true to the magicians code...and the spy ethos by obfuscation and misdirection.