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The Best Books About the CIA

Updated June 28, 2019 532 votes 192 voters 41k views34 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.

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  • 1

    First Published1974-06-12

    SubjectsCold 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
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  • 2
    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 and...  more
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  • 3

    First Published2003-04

    SubjectsCentral 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....
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  • 4
    Norman Mailer
    18
    4

    First Published1991

    SubjectsCentral 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....  more
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  • 5
    Stephen Kinzer
    20
    11

    First Published2003-07-18

    SubjectsEspionage, 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 the U.S....  more
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  • 6

    First Published2000

    SubjectsOffice 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....
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  • 7

    First Published2007-10

    SubjectsIraq 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....
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  • 8
    Francine Mathews
    9
    2

    First Published2002

    SubjectsBangkok, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Jim Thompson

    Genres (Book)Thriller

    The Secret Agent is a book by Francine Mathews....
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  • 9

    First Published2005-10

    SubjectsPresident 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....
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  • 10

    First Published2008-01

    SubjectsCold War, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

    Genres (Book)Non-fiction

    The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America is a book by Hugh Wilford....
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  • 11

    First Published2003-01-07

    SubjectsPolitics of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States of America, Espionage, Current events

    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 his...  more
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  • 12

    First Published2005-01

    SubjectsEspionage, 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....
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  • 13
    JoelM addedKevin Michael Shipp
    7
    5

    First Published2012

    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.

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  • 14

    First Published2000

    SubjectsCentral 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....
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  • 15
    Stephen Kinzer
    5
    4

    SubjectsInternational relations, Military, United States of America, Foreign relations of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

    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 of...  more
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  • 16
    William Blum
    7
    7

    First Published2003

    SubjectsCentral 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 century....  more
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  • 17

    First Published1996

    SubjectsCold 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....
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  • 18
    Hugo Brown addedDuane R. Claridge
    6
    0

    First Published1997

    SubjectsCIA

    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.

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  • 19

    SubjectsGeorge 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
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  • 20
    Peter Janney
    3
    0

    First Published2016

    SubjectsHoaxes 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.

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  • 21

    First Published2015

    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.

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  • 22

    First Published2008-02

    SubjectsWinston 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....
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  • 23

    First Published2014

    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.

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  • 24

    First Published2015

    SubjectsPolitics 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.

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  • 25

    First Published1996

    SubjectsRichard M. Bissell, Jr., Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

    Genres (Book)Memoir

    Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs is a book by Richard M. Bissell, Jr....
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