The author has used autobiographies and secondary sources to prepare brief biographical information on 725 spies. Individual entries provide information on an agent's major espionage activity and its consequences for the espionage systems and countries involved. Most of the entries conclude with references to the sources used by the author, including reference works, books, journal articles, and newspaper reports
A brief glossary contains special vocabulary and initialisms for agencies (RCMP, SSD, STB, etc.). Another useful feature is a chronology of significant events in espionage taking place between 1946 and September 6, 1991. The index is helpful but is not used to full advantage. For example, there are no subject entries for "assassins", "political coups", or "sabotage"
This collective biography contains more agents than does Ronald Payne's "Who's Who in Espionage" (1984), but Payne provides much more complete and interesting information for the agents he selected to include. "WWIE" covers a longer time period, primarily the twentieth century. Payne gives good, brief coverage of the major intelligence systems, such as the CIA, and includes helpful background information on such subjects as "Blackmail and Entrapment", "Counter-Espionage", and "Interrogation". His glossary, entitled "Spytalk," is also more informative, serving to define the spy's vocabulary. Both works provide a good bibliography. "WWIE" does not include a chronology. Funds permitting, the sheer number of agents included in "Spies and Provocateurs" makes this new work a necessary supplement to Payne.
Describes the activities (sometimes allegations of activities), of some 725 agents--of espionage (gathering and transmitting intelligence) and covert action (clandestine activities, including political coups, assassinations, and sabotage). Entries reveal the general background, the exact activity, and its consequences. Includes a chronology of significant happenings in the intelligence community since 1946. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)