Women in Espionage: A Biographical Dictionary

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9780874367430: Women in Espionage: A Biographical Dictionary

From antiquity to the present, women have played important roles in the dangerous world of espionage. These dynamic, intelligent personalities are often overlooked in history, though they have served just as nobly as their male counterparts. They have dodged bullets, remained silent under torture, and risked their lives in countless ways. Their work has affected the outcome of battles, wars, and elections. If not for the determination, patriotism, and unwavering courage of female spies, world history may have run a radically different course.
This comprehensive volume, the first of its kind, focuses long-deserved attention on the role of women in espionage. It features the remarkable biographies of 150 female spies, carefully selected for their varied expertise and unique contributions.
The book's entries convey many of the reasons women become spies, including revenge, patriotism, circumstances, and in a few cases, sheer boredom. They also help distinguish between myth and legend - those who were genuine spies and those whose reputations far exceeded their actions. Herein lie tales of love, intrigue, revenge, moral dilemma, double agents, loyal wives, consorts, and seduction - an exotic journey through centuries of clandestine operations.

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From Booklist:

From Delilah in the Bible to the present day, women have played a vital but quiet role in espionage and intelligence gathering. The lives of 150 of these women are memorialized here by a former CIA operative.

The introduction gives the reader a brief look into the many roles women play in intelligence work, from clerical jobs to actual covert operations. It dispels the myth that women have primarily used sex as a tool for gathering intelligence. The alphabetical entries vary in length from a few paragraphs to several pages. Aliases are included for more famous spies with see references to the official name entry. See also references and a source or two are given at the end of each entry. Black-and-white portraits are provided for a few of the women. The index includes subjects as well as personal names so it is possible to look up particular wars or countries and find women who spied for a certain cause.

The work is international in scope, but most of the women are American or European. Most of the spies are from the twentieth century, a time of great political upheaval with two world wars and the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West, but the American Revolution and Civil War are represented, too. The essays make interesting reading and are written for a lay audience.

Women in Espionage is recommended for libraries supporting women's studies at the high-school and undergraduate level and for public libraries.

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M. H. Mahoney
Published by ABC-Clio Inc (1993)
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Mahoney, M. H.
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