H. Keith Melton


Melton, H. Keith, with Foreword by Richard Helms. CIA Special Weapons and Equipment: Spy Devices of the Cold War. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1993. 1994. [pb]

According to Surveillant 3.2/3 and 3.4, "scores of fascinating tools of the trade are pictured and expertly described." Melton "has one of the largest collections of spy devices in the world." FILS 12.4 calls this "another excellent volume" to go along with Melton's OSS Special Weapons.


Melton, H. Keith, with Foreword by William Colby. OSS Special Weapons and Equipment: Spy Devices of WWII. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1991. 1992. [pb]

Surveillant 1.5 calls this work a "meticulous historical account full of photographs." It is "based on an early OSS report," but Melton "has added a strong section" on other equipment. The book is "a visual feast." Phillips, IJI&C 6.2, notes that this is "not just a reprint of the original manual"; Melton "has included items used by clandestine agents of the other Allied services." OSS Special Weapons is a "delight to any student of weapons from the secret side of the war."


Melton, H. Keith, with Forewords by William Colby and Oleg Kalugin. The Ultimate SPY Book. London & New York: Dorling Kindersley, Ltd., 1996. With Forewords by Richard Helms and Markus Wolf. Ultimate Spy. Rev. Ed. New York: Dorling Kindersley, Ltd, 2002.

Clark comment: The Ultimate SPY Book is a beautifully presented work; it might be called "The Spy-Aficionado's Ultimate Coffee-Table Book."

Surveillant 4.4/5 describes the book as an "impressive visual encyclopedia with condensed, fact-filled descriptions of intelligence equipment and operations since the Renaissance." For Peake, WIR 15.3, The Ultimate SPY Book "is a wonderful historical reference guide to important intelligence operations and equipment." Advertising copy aside, "no secrets are revealed here.... There are neither footnotes nor a bibliography.... The absence of citations does not ... imply they do not exist; those interested can obtain them from the author."

Commenting on the 2002 expanded edition, Peake, I&NS 18.4, notes that 32 new pages have been added to the work, including "some espionage toys [emphasis in original] that appear ... for the first time, several from the former KGB.... There are two new sections on concealed cameras," as well as other new sections. Peake concludes that "Ultimate Spy is a wonderful historical reference guide to important intelligence operations and equipment."

Kruh, Cryptologia 20.3, finds that "[f]rom its dust jacket on the outside to virtually every page inside, this book is a spectacular visual treat and an encyclopedic picture guide to the mysterious and ingenious paraphernalia of the spy." With regard to the new edition, Kruh, Cryptologia 28.1, recommends this work for "anyone interested in cipher devices and machines, codebreaking, clandestine operations, spying equipment and techniques, [and] secret operations."

For more on Melton's unique holdings, see Hank Schlesinger, "For Your Eyes Only," Smithsonian Magazine, Jul. 2001, at http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu.

[RefMats/Encyclopedias/Gen & Weapons]

Melton, H. Keith, and Robert Wallace. The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception. New York: Morrow, 2009.

Peake, Studies 54.1 (Mar. 2010) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Winter-Spring 2010), notes that this work consists of two training manuals written in the 1950s by magician John Mulholland as part of the MKULTRA project -- Some Operational Applications of the Art of Deception and Recognition Signals. The volume "fills a historical gap" and "is an unexpected and valuable contribution."


Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Winter-Spring 2010),

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