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.
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.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"A legendary 'lost' piece of magic history...It's James Bond meets
Harry Houdini!"--Lance Burton, Master Magician
"An enchanting account of espionage and wizardry at their blackest."--Peter Earnest, Executive Director of the International Spy Museum
"Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician's trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage."--Jeff McBride, Creator of The Magic and Mystery School
"Espionage and magic! A special thrill to read the once-classified CIA magician's manual."--Danny Biederman, author of The Incredible World of SPY-Fi
"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."--Tony and Jonna Mendez, Masters of Disguise