Historical Dictionaries

Kahana, Ephraim.

1. Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

Aftergood, Secrecy News (from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy), 18 May 2006, notes that "[a]ll of the obvious topics are covered, from the capture of fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann to the Jonathan Pollard case, as are other relatively obscure subjects, such as the defense security organization Malmab, and its querulous director Yehiel Horev. The individual subject entries are mostly brief, and do not include sources or references. But the book includes a fine bibliography ... featuring hardcopy and online resources on Israeli intelligence."

For Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), this work "has useful case summaries, but it is incomplete in surprising areas.... On the other hand, there is new information on some cases.... The introduction is a valuable summary of how Israeli intelligence operates, citing missions, failures, oversight, the importance of HUMINT, and a look to the future. Overall this is a valuable reference book."

2. and Muhammad Suwaed. Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009) and Intelligencer 54.1 (Winter-Spring 2010), notes that the volume's introduction outlines "the use of intelligence from ancient times until the present.... A good index would have been helpful in locating the many players and organizations.... [N]o sources are cited in the entries, and errors have crept in.... There is an extensive bibliography that includes mostly English sources ... though some Israeli and Arabic citations are included. Overall this is a valuable contribution for those concerned with intelligence in the Middle Eastern countries."

Pringle, Robert W. Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Historical Dictionaries of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, No. 5. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

Peake, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), finds this to be "a valuable reference work, especially for students, analysts and readers unfamiliar with the role intelligence services played in Russian history." Nevertheless, the "book omits too many important cases and intelligence organizations, especially those occurring after the Russsian Revolution."

Smith, I.C., and Nigel West. Historical Dictionary of Chinese Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2012.

To Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), this work provides "a valuable mix of case studies, institutional descriptions, organizational relationships, and commentary on key personnel." The book "documents the extent of Chinese global reach in espionage, including cyberespionage, and is the best reference work on the subject to date." Mattis, Studies 56.4 (Dec. 2012), is less than enthusiastic about this work, calling it "incomplete, often misleading, and ultimately" providing "a shaky foundation for building understanding of the challenge" represented by the PRC. Nevertheless, "on its technical merits, the book makes a lot of material readily accessible."

Trenear-Harvey, Glenmore S.

1. Historical Dictionary of Air Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

Peake, Studies 53.3 (Sep. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Fall 2009), notes that there are "approximately 500 entries" that cover a wide range of topics." However, "there are no sources for the entries," and readers should "seek further confirmation before relying on any given entry." In addition, there are "a few factual errors in the introduction."

2. Historical Dictionary of Atomic Espionage. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2011.

For Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), this is "a useful compendium of espionage personalities and events associated with nuclear weapons from the 1930s to the present.... For reasons not explained, this dictionary does not include references, such as were found in earlier contributions to this series." Overall, this "is a good place to start for those studying atomic espionage."

3. Historical Dictionary of Intelligence Failures. Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2014.

Peake, Studies 59.2 (Jun. 2015), notes that most of the failures the author includes "are those based on faulty conclusions drawn from sound data, failure to disseminate intelligence properly, or failure to connect the dots." The absence of sourcing and an index "substantially reduces" the book's "scholarly value," although it can be used as a starting point.

Turner, Michael A. Historical Dictionary of United States Intelligence. Historical Dictionaries of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, No. 2. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005.

Peake, Studies 50.2 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that this work "has just too many errors.... The author and the publisher have left the fact-checking to the reader." For Hay, DIJ 15.1 (2006), the author "covers a range of topics," including "some important non-U.S. intelligence terms." Nevertheless "both a strength and a weakness of this dictionary" is that "it is centered on the CIA," and thereby "omits some significant intelligence terms unique to other agencies.... Perhaps the most impressive and useful section ... is the extensive bibliography."

Commenting on the second edition, Peake, Studies 59.2 (Jun. 2015), notes that "[t]here are more than 100 additional pages in this edition, including a detailed list of acronyms, a valuable chronology, a comprehensive bibliography, and a short summary of American intelligence history. Though more error-free than the first edition, some remain.... While the discrepancies are not earthshaking, they do suggest fact-checking would be wise when using this dictionary as a source. Overall, this edition ... is much improved."

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason].

1. Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005. 2d ed. rev. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

From publisher: This Dictionary has "more than 1,800 entries, covering a vast and varied cast of characters.... Covered also are the agencies; leading individuals and prominent personalities; operations, including double agent and deception campaigns; and events, using the most up-to-date declassified material."

Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), notes that while this work focuses "on the British intelligence services, there is much of interest to Americans, since many operations and cases overlap.... Remarkably free from errors overall, the Historical Dictionary has a fine bibliography and begins with a witty essay about the eccentricities of British intelligence." To Skarpac, DIJ 15.1 (2006), the author provides "a complete overview detailing the history and operations of British intelligence from Abbassia to Zululand.... This book is an exemplary reference for anyone interested in intelligence."

Acording to Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), the second edition "contains 74 pages of material that surfaced since the first edition was published." Additions include new personalities and terms, and expansion of other entries. There are no sources for the entries.

2. Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2007.

Aftergood, Secrecy News (from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy), 16 Feb. 2007, finds "many intriguing nuggets" in this work of "brief, capsule summaries of key topics, terms and events in the turbulent history of cold war counterintelligence." However, entries "are not sourced or annotated." Maret, DIJ 16.2 (2007), says that this work provides "an international perspective to CI, with brief but detailed entries." However, the reviewer wonders "whether the dictionary format is the ideal arrangement for presentling highly complex historical and biographical material."

For Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), this work "has an impressive selection of cases, some little known, and a valuable bibliographic essay covering the evolution of books during the Cold War." Nonetheless, the volume has a number of factual errors; "the editorial practice of leaving the fact-checking and source determination to the reader diminishes the[] utility" of this work.

3. Historical Dictionary of International Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), identifies a number of factual errors in this work. For instance, it "states Philip Agee won a court challenge to recover his US passport; he did not. Nor did James Angleton identify Canadian counterintelligence officer James Bennett as a KGB mole; the Canadians did that on their own. And the comment that the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence) was originally designated the Third Department is inaccurate; it was the Fourth Department."

4. Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.3 (Sep. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), finds that this work "begins with a useful chronology and a historical essay." There is also "an interesting appendix on 'US Navy Signals Intercept Sites,' but no British ones." The bibliographic essay is "reasonably complete," although there are omissions. The more than 600 entries "do not have source references." Nonetheless, this is "a valuable reference work."

To Carnes, AIJ 29.1 (2011), this work includes "subjects not covered anywhere else and is not redundant with any other reference sources." It "is a most interesting read," and "is a very useful reference allowing for the study of naval intelligence." The reviewer does, however, identify "some problem with the acronyms included in the section on the Fleet Intelligence Center." Anderson, Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), says that the author has "filled this slim volume with a lot of diverse and often fascunating material."

5. Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

From publisher: "In the realm of human behavior, sex can be the catalyst for risky or reckless conduct. The Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage explores this behavior through a chronology, an introduction, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on the secret agencies, operations, and events. From Delilah's seduction of Samson in 1161 BC to State Department official Donald Keyser's conviction of passing secrets to Isabelle Cheng, a Taiwanese intelligence officer, in 2007, Nigel West recounts the history of sexspionage."

6. Historical Dictionary of Signals Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2012.

Gary K., Studies 57.2 (Jun. 2013), finds a "significant and surprising gap in West's otherwise fair-minded selection of sources" -- the limited number of "references to histories of SIGINT written by NSA historians." Writing about SIGINT is difficult, but by "providing an introductory essay, a chronology, more than 300 entries, appendices, and, importantly, a bibliography, West has made the best of a difficult subject. His dictionary samples a wide field and will be worthwhile for most scholarly and public educational uses."

7. Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), notes that "newly released documents from the British National Achives have revealed new names and acts of espionage among all the major participants in WWI.... [I]ntelligence students and historians will find World War I Intelligence a useful reference." However, there are no sources for the entries. For Trenear-Harvey, IJI&C 28.1 (Spring 2015), this is "a 'one-stop' encyclopedia" containing "an abundance of fascinating material."

8. Historical Dictionary of World War II Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2008.

Peake, Studies 52.2 (Jun. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), says that the author "continues his precedent of providing a fine bibliographic essay, an index he creates himself, and an absence of source notes." This is a "useful but not comprehensive treatment [that] leaves many topics for future volumes."

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