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The Best Books About the CIA

Updated June 28, 2019 490 votes 181 voters 39.0k 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
    Age of Secrets
    Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 3
    The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    Killing Hope
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    Killing Hope

    William Blum

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    All the Shah's Men
    18
    11

    All the Shah's Men

    Stephen Kinzer

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 7
    Overthrow
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    4

    Overthrow

    Stephen Kinzer

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    The Secret Agent
    10
    2

    The Secret Agent

    Francine Mathews

    First Published2002

    SubjectsBangkok, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Jim Thompson

    Genres (Book)Thriller

    The Secret Agent is a book by Francine Mathews.Amazon buy button
  • 9
    Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 10
    The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

    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.Amazon buy button
  • 11
    From the Company of Shadows
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    From the Company of Shadows

    Kevin Michael Shipp

    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.

    Amazon buy button
  • 12
    Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy and Other Misadventures

    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.Amazon buy button
  • 13
    The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 14
    Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 15
    Harlot's Ghost
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    6

    Harlot's Ghost

    Norman Mailer

    First Published1991

    SubjectsCentral Intelligence Agency (CIA)

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Harlot's Ghost, a fictional chronicle of the Central Intelligence Agency by Norman Mailer. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War

    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.Amazon buy button
  • 17
    From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 18
    A Spy for All Seasons: My Life in the CIA

    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.

    Amazon buy button
  • 19
    The Way of the World

    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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    Mary's Mosaic
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    Mary's Mosaic

    Peter Janney

    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.

    Amazon buy button
  • 21
    Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life

    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.

    Amazon buy button
  • 22
    Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA

    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...Amazon buy button
  • 23
    The CIA and September 11
    The CIA and September 11 is a controversial 2003 non-fiction book by Andreas von Bülow, a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 24
    No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

    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.

    Amazon buy button
  • 25
    Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs

    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,...Amazon buy button