Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Central Intelligence Agency: An Encyclopedia of Covert Ops, Intelligence Gathering, and Spies

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Central Intelligence Agency: An Encyclopedia of Covert Ops, Intelligence Gathering, and Spies

Article excerpt

The Central Intelligence Agency: An Encyclopedia of Covert Ops, Intelligence Gathering, and Spies. Edited by Jan Goldman. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2016. 2 vols. Acid free $189.00 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-091-1). E-book available (978-1-61069-092-8), call for pricing.

This two-volume reference set offers a well-rounded look at the CIA from its inception to the present. As is made clear in the introduction, it is intended to be much more than a straightforward history of the CIA as an organization, but rather a compendium covering the broader spectrum of related topics. It would appear to live up to this claim. It does provide a detailed timeline chronicling the historical highlights, but moves right into over two hundred individual entries comprised of important events (i.e., operations, projects, cases, etc.), key players and names, and other relevant terms (e.g., "Contras," "Handwriting Analysis," "Torture"). Entries are substantial, too, ranging on average between five and ten paragraphs, with many reaching the teens, peppered with black and white images throughout. Naturally, I compared a handful of entries with their Wikipedia counterparts, and can say with confidence that there is no comparison--that is, this encyclopedia wins. (As we all know, this is not always the case.) Included are the usual cross-referenced entries and "Further Reading" suggestions, but what I find especially helpful is the referencing of associated primary documents.

This leads us to volume 2. Here, ninety-eight primary documents are organized chronologically, starting in the 1940s and ending with the 2014 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's "Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program. …

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