Culture

The Best Books About the CIA 

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Updated June 28, 2019 281 votes 179 voters 38.2k views 34 items

This list of best books about the CIA includes many notable books, from novels telling the history of covert operations to memoirs by former CIA Directors and other company men. Sorted by popularity, the highest rated books about the Central Intelligence Agency are at the top of the list and include a range of authors that have backgrounds in secret agencies or as investigative reporters. This well-researched Central Intelligence Agency bibliography includes both out-of-print titles and new CIA books and generally contains the most popular, famous, or otherwise notable books about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) both true and fictional.

If you're looking for a list of top books on the CIA then you're in the right place. If you are searching for CIA fiction novels, the best secret agent books, books on CIA history, and the best books on intelligence agencies, you'll find answers here. If you want to read an ex CIA agent book, there are several CIA history books that are written by operatives and people who were in the know about covert ops, black ops, and secret survellance, such as See No Evil by former CIA case officer Robert Baer, At the Center of the Storm by former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency George Tenet, or Facts and Fears, by former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper.

This CIA reading list includes more books such as  Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters and more books. You should be able to answer the question, "What are the best books about the CIA?" after checking out this list.

Which authors have written books about Central Intelligence Agency? Norman Mailer and William Blum both have, as well as many other great authors.

list ordered by
1
A Look Over My Shoulder:... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
William Hood, Richard Helms

First Published: 2003-04

Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Richard Helms

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency is a book by Richard Helms and William Hood.
2
Creating the Secret Stat... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
David F. Rudgers

First Published: 2000

Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947 is a book by David F. Rudgers.
3
Age of Secrets is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Books About the CIA

First Published: 1995

Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Biography

Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes is a biography on Howard Hughes personal advisor, and former U.S. Senate Candidate, John H. Meier ...more
4
The CIA and the Cult of ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
John D. Marks

First Published: 1974-06-12

Subjects: Cold War, Espionage, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence is a 1974 controversial non-fiction political book written by Victor Marchetti, a former special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence ...more
5
See No Evil: The True St... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Robert Baer

First Published: 2003-01-07

Subjects: Politics of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States of America, Espionage, Current events, + more

Genres (Book): Non-fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War Against Terrorism is a 2003 memoir by Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Directorate of Operations. Baer begins with ...more
6
All the Shah's Men is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Stephen Kinzer

First Published: 2003-07-18

Subjects: Espionage, Foreign relations of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror is a book written by American journalist Stephen Kinzer. The book discusses the 1953 Iranian coup d'état backed by ...more
7
The Cultural Cold War: T... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Frances Stonor Saunders

First Published: 2000

Subjects: Office of Strategic Services, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters is a book by Frances Stonor Saunders.
8
Harlot's Ghost is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Norman Mailer

First Published: 1991

Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Fiction

Harlot's Ghost, a fictional chronicle of the Central Intelligence Agency by Norman Mailer. The characters are a mixture of real people and fictional figures.
9
Killing Hope is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
William Blum

First Published: 2003

Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): History

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II is a history book on covert CIA operations and United States military interventions during the second half of the 20th ...more
10
Overthrow is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Stephen Kinzer

Subjects: International relations, Military, United States of America, Foreign relations of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), + more

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change is a book published in 2006 by New York Times foreign correspondent and author Stephen Kinzer about the United States's involvement in the overthrow ...more
11
Curveball: Spies, Lies, ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Bob Drogin

First Published: 2007-10

Subjects: Iraq War, Curveball, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War is a book by Bob Drogin.
12
The Secret Agent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Francine Mathews

First Published: 2002

Subjects: Bangkok, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Jim Thompson

Genres (Book): Thriller

The Secret Agent is a book by Francine Mathews.
13
Burn Before Reading: Pre... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Stansfield Turner

First Published: 2005-10

Subjects: President of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence is a book by Stansfield Turner.
14
The Mighty Wurlitzer: Ho... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Hugh Wilford

First Published: 2008-01

Subjects: Cold War, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America is a book by Hugh Wilford.
15
Blowing My Cover: My Lif... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Lindsay Moran

First Published: 2005-01

Subjects: Espionage, Lindsay Moran, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction, Autobiography

Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy and Other Misadventures is a book by Lindsay Moran.
16
From the Shadows: The Ul... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Robert Gates

First Published: 1996

Subjects: Cold War, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War is a book by Robert M. Gates.
17
From the Company of Shad... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
JoelM added Kevin Michael Shipp

First Published: 2012

From the Company of Shadows is a book by Kevin Michael Shipp. Read firsthand accounts of fascinating events inside the CIA and learn how the CIA conducts operations, recruits agents and protects defectors from assassination.

18
The Way of the World is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Ron Suskind

Subjects: George Bush, Politics of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Terrorism

The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism is a 2008 non-fiction book by Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, describing various actions and policies of the ...more
19
A Spy for All Seasons: M... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Hugo Brown added Duane R. Claridge

First Published: 1997

Subjects: CIA

Genres (Book): Autobiography

A Spy for All Seasons: My Life in the CIA is an espionage true account novel from Duane R. Claridge. This book follows Clarridge on his trajectory through the CIA and his alleged involvement in the Iran-contra affair.

20
Mary's Mosaic is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Peter Janney

First Published: 2016

Subjects: Hoaxes and Deceptions, Political corruption

Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace is a book by Peter Janney. The book explores the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer and her connection to President Kennedy.

21
No Place to Hide: Edward... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Glenn Greenwald

First Published: 2015

Subjects: Politics and social sciences, Politics and government

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State is a book by investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald. This book takes an in-depth look at the NSA scandal that triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy.

22
Spy Secrets That Can Sav... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Jason Hanson

First Published: 2015

Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected is a book by former CIA officer Jason Hanson. The book details techniques from escaping handcuffs to improvising a self-defense weapon and honing "positive awareness" for defense and prevention.

23
Lights Out: A Cyberattac... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Ted Koppel

First Published: 2016

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath is a book by investigator Ted Koppel. The book covers what would happen in a major cyberattack on America's power grid.

24
Our Man in Mexico: Winst... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
Jefferson Morley

First Published: 2008-02

Subjects: Winston Mackinley Scott, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Genres (Book): Non-fiction

Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA is a book by Jefferson Morley.
25
Company Man: Thirty Year... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Books About the CIA
John Rizzo

First Published: 2014

Company Man is a book by lawyer John Rizzo. After serving under eleven CIA directors over his 34-year career, Rizo writes about virtually every significant CIA activity and controversy over a tumultuous, thirty-year period.