Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner (E-Book)

Provides a comprehensive, subject specific guide to the history, uses, scientific principles, and technologies of espionage, intelligence, and security, with special emphasis placed on the current ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding this very topical subject.

Of the approximately 800 to 850 articles in this set, I have reviewed nearly forty entries across a range of subtopics. Although I find the A-Z format to be cumbersome when attempting to link information related to a particular topic, the overall organization is logical and friendly to the average reader. The photos and article content make the set as readable as many single topic books. It is hard to turn the page without finding interesting or valuable reading on a topic recently in the news.

The set is at its best when tackling science and technology related topics. Written and edited by scientists and teachers for the general public, the articles often take the space to explain fundamental science concepts and how they relate to emerging security related technologies. The science articles are first-rate and show consistent effort to make tough and complex topics understandable.

The books set a modest goal of portraying the impact of modern science and technology on security issues, but the editors and writers achieve more by including interesting short articles on historical topics that also emphasize the impact of the science and technology on the history of espionage and intelligence. The selection of articles shows a crafted regard not to tread the well-worn path of prior books on spycraft, and the omissions allow the authors to explore fresh angles to old stories. While the political and historical articles often seem condensed, and in places oversimplified, they add readability, usefulness, and context to the more technical articles.

The non-science writing is utilitarian, but having the wide range of topics related to countries and organizations in one set is handy. Although certain articles may subtly convey a particular author’s bias, the overall tone of the book is decidedly balanced and fair. In fact, although apparently written before the conclusion of the recent war in Iraq, and the rise of issues related to the search for WMD stockpiles, the book exhibits an eerie insight into the complexities of the intelligence issues and failures related the current WMD controversy.

This is an excellent general resource for high school students and the general public. The books are a sound starter resource for undergraduate students. Libraries, newsrooms, and emergency planners would find this encyclopedia a worthwhile investment.

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PASSWORD: bayw.org


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