Kristie Macrakis

Macrakis, Kristie.

1. "The Case of Agent Gorbachev." Intelligencer 12, no. 1 (Summer 2001): 10-19. Reprinted from American Scientist 88 (Nov.-Dec. 2000).

Stasi "Agent Gorbachev" (probably from Wodka Gorbatschow, a Berlin vodka) was West German physicist Hans Rehder who worked at Telefunken and AEG. The author found this prized Stasi agent's file and is using it here as a "window onto the workings of scientific and technical espionage during the Cold War."

2. "Does Effective Espionage Lead to Success in Science and Technology? Lessons from the East German Ministry for State Security." Intelligence and National Security 19, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 52-77.

The MfS "developed effective general espionage methods for collecting and evaluating scientific material during the Cold War. Unfortunately, East Germany could not always sucessfully integrate the material into its economy or science system."

3. Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Poteat, Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), sees this work as "the result of years of meticulous, scholarly research into the secret Stasi archives recovered by CIA after the Berlin wall came down," as well as "extensive interviews conducted in Germany with former Stasi officials.... The book is assuredly a must for those spy literature aficionados interested in real, as opposed to fictional, spy stories."

After noting instances where the author's "use of English tradecraft terms is inaccurate," Peake. Studies 52.3 (Sep. 2008) adds that this work represents "fine scholarship and [is] a valuable and unique contribution to intelligence literature." Legvold, FA 87.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2008), comments that Macrakis' "research ... is prodigious." However, "the detail is somewhat overwhelming and, at times, repetitive. But one comes away ... with a well-tutored sense of the scale and the precise nature of East German ... industrial and military espionage."

Fischer, IJI&C 22.1 (Spring 2009), finds that this work covers both the MfS and the HV A. The author brings to her task "a historian's commitment to in-depth research, a novelist's eye for illuminating detail, and an innate curiosity about the nature, purpose, and methods of intelligence." For Arpin, NWCR 62.2 (Spring 2009), this is an "interesting, if somewhat disjointed" work. The author "conveys a deep understanding of German thought and attitudes, but her lack of knowledge on intelligence matters unfortunately limits her understanding of her chosen topic" and "prevents her from presenting real insights."


Macrakis, Kristie. "Confessing Secrets: Secret Communication and the Origins of Modern Science." Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 12 (Apr. 2010): 183-197.

"Despite their advocacy of open and free communication in science, leaders and luminaries of the Scientific Revolution still believed some things in science and for the state were better kept a secret. They found ways to reconcile secrecy and openness in science and for the state. Further, the intersection of political intrigue and the birth of modern science can account for, in part, the flourishing of secret communication."


Macrakis, Kristie. Prisoners, Lovers, & Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to al-Qaeda. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014.

For Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), this "thought-provoking history of SW [secret writing] and secret communications ... is a valuable contribution to the literature." Goulden, Washington Times, 13 May 2014 and Intelligencer 20.3 (Spring-Summer 2014), calls this "an utterly fascinating account" of the evolution of secret writing, and advises "Read this book." To Fischer, IJI&C 28.1 (Spring 2015), "Macrakis has thoroughly researched her subject, providing considerable information to historians, intelligence officers, and the general public."


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