Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History : The Great Courses: Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern History
  • 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Step into the real world of the spy with this detailed and unforgettable tour of the millennia-long history and enduring legacy of espionage and covert operations. While most of us associate this top-secret subject with popular fiction and film, its true story is more fascinating, surprising, and important than you could possibly imagine.
These 24 thrilling lectures survey how world powers have attempted to work in the shadows to gain secret information or subvert enemies behind the scenes. Filled with stories and insights that will change the way you think about world history's most defining events, this course lets you peer inside a subject whose truths most people are unaware of.
Professor Liulevicius introduces you to the inner workings of covert organizations, including the Oprichnina, a feared secret service established by tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 1500s in an effort to cleanse Russia of treasonous activities; the CIA, established in 1947 by President Truman to replace the Office of Secret Services to be in charge of all intelligence collection - and which had an embarrassing early history; and Mossad, Israel's version of the CIA, which won a series of key intelligence victories during the cold war and over terror attacks and hostage crises in the second half of the 20th century.
You'll also meet famous - and infamous - spies, including Sir Francis Walsingham, Mata Hari, and Kim Philby. In this stirring series of lectures, you'll study the psychological motives behind spies, the ethics of cyber warfare and corporate espionage, the question of whether we now live in a surveillance society, and more.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good General History

Any additional comments?

This is an interesting series of lectures, all of a half hour in length, which I listened to in a period of four days. I have always been fascinated by spying and espionage and bought these by the title. I enjoyed them, although I would have preferred more detail of the several case histories, they provide a good general overview of the subject if you have no prior knowledge of the subject.

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- Adrian "Classic detectives and history are mostly my thing along with a dash of science fact and fiction."

Good start point

What made the experience of listening to Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History the most enjoyable?

The lectures were given in a rather entertaining form, with a lot of information references. So I got the general story about the topic, also got several references to check afterwards if I want. I can't say it's comprehensive but definitely a good start.


What did you like best about this story?

Multiple books recommendation for further reading. Very entertaining.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

The in fact male spy managed to convince a male French diplomat that he was a woman. They then had an affair and the spy later told the diplomat he was pregnant...


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Several lectures were linked more closely than others so maybe listen to them in one sitting.


Any additional comments?

I feel like the title 'global' is not quite right for the content. It is more like 'western history', for except for some bits about Ninja and 'the Art of War', the Asian part is largely missing. There is far more information about British, Soviet/Russian, American. Sure, they have been the major players in modern history, still, the course is not global enough to justify the title.

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- lilith_farrell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses