The Central Intelligence Agency
An Encyclopedia of Covert Ops, Intelligence Gathering, and Spies
by Jan Goldman, Editor
December 2015, 911pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-091-1
$218, £168, 190€, A299
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-092-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

What covert actions have been undertaken by the CIA to kill foreign leaders?

The Central Intelligence Agency is essential in the fight to keep America safe from foreign attacks. This two-volume work traces through facts and documents the history of the CIA, from the people involved to the operations conducted for national security.

This two-volume reference work offers both students and general-interest readers a definitive resource that examines the impact the CIA has had on world events throughout the Cold War and beyond. From its intervention in Guatemala in 1954, through the Bay of Pigs, the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra Affair, and its key role in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, this objective, apolitical work covers all of this controversial intelligence agency’s most notable successes and failures.

The content focuses on describing how a U.S. government organization that is unlike any other conducts covert warfare, surreptitiously collects information, and conducts espionage. The work allows for easy reference of former CIA operations and spies, looking at the positive and negative aspects of each operation and the “why” and “how” of its execution. The second volume provides documentation that supports and amplifies more than 200 cross-referenced entries. Readers will be able to understand the reasons behind the CIA’s various actions, perceive how the agency’s role has evolved across its 75-year history, and intelligently consider the viability and future of the CIA.


  • Covers the history of the CIA from its days prior to World War II, when it was known as the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), supplying comprehensive, objective information in a convenient ready reference
  • Provides documents formerly classified as "top secret" and an extensive bibliography to allow further research by students
  • Includes contributions from about two dozen experts in their field of study, ranging from a psychologist describing CIA "mind experiments" to former practitioners and historians writing on covert operations during the Cold War
  • Provides primary documents such as the oldest formerly classified document held by the CIA (how to make invisible ink, 1918) and intelligence reports that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack the United States (2001)
Jan Goldman is on the faculty of the Global Education Institute at Georgetown University and an international expert on ethics and intelligence for national security. He has been an analyst and educator focusing on intelligence issues for over 30 years. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including ABC-CLIO's The War on Terror Encyclopedia: From the Rise of Al Qaeda to 9/11 and Beyond as well as Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings and the two volume Ethics of Spying: A Reader for the Intelligence Professional. Goldman is the founding editor of the Security Professionals Intelligence Education Series and founding editor of the International Journal of Intelligence Ethics. He holds a doctorate in education from George Washington University.


2016 Editors' Top Community College Resources - Reference—Choice, July 29, 2016

Best Reference Titles of 2016—Library Journal, March 2, 2017


"Offering readers a well-documented history of the CIA and its operations, this set is appropriate for most public and academic libraries."—Booklist, March 9, 2016

"Researchers at all levels will be able to use these primary sources in conjunction with the time line and analysis as a launching point for their own projects. The encyclopedia rises above the goals of merely summarizing knowledge. It should remain relevant as a documentary record for many years, even as its content becomes dated and the CIA moves forward in its mission in a very complicated world. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries and levels."—Choice, July 1, 2016

"The book as it stands has plenty of good information and is a useful contribution to ‘espionage studies.'"—Reference Reviews, January 13, 2017
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