It seems like you know a lot about spies, so what do you suggest for us who want to learn more?
Hot dang. I’m a little wine-buzzed, so it’s very possible that the answer to this question is going to be a much more ambitious one than you wanted, but let me tell you how I learned all my spy stuff and how you can learn a whole bunch of spy stuff, too. Here we go:
Sarah’s List of (Not Really) Secret Spy Stuff
OKAY. Let’s start with a few key texts:
Ultimate Spy - H. Keith MeltonThis is a really great place to start because it gives you a beginner’s guide to a lot of terminology and also a really basic overview of espionage history on the grand scheme. Plus, Melton owns so many espionage artifacts. Like, so many. And he’s a nerd who took a bunch of pictures of it all and put it in a book, for your reading convenience.
The Official CIA Manual of Deception and Trickery - H. Keith Melton and Bob Wallaceis also a really good starting point if you’re interested in, like, the overall cleverness of human beings. This one talks about how, in the early days of recent espionage, magicians were recruited in order to design the art of spycraft which is ACTUALLY THE COOLEST THING EVER. You might have to google some stuff as you read, but it’s pretty simple overall. Very well written. Amazing subject matter. Plus! Melton and Wallace list all their sources in this one, which makes it a really good launching point for further learning. If there’s something in this book that interests you, there’s a really good chance that there’s another book you can find on the matter, listed right in the bibliography.
OSS Special Weapons and Equipment: Spy Devices of WWII - H. Keith MeltonI have not actually been able to get my hands on this one yet, so I can’t speak to how easy it is to understand as a layman, but! This was the first text to come out that really divulged the secrets of espionage technology to the general public. It is on my to-read list, and it should probably be on yours, too.
Perhaps you’ve spotted a theme.
Basically, anything with the name Melton on the cover is going to be excellent. He’s kind of a Big Deal™️ in the world of espionage history.
The Master of Disguise - Tony Mendezis also a very good read, if you’re looking for a non-Melton book. The great thing about Tony Mendez is that he’s an insider. He served with the CIA for decades—and he’s kind of the guy when it comes to the Office of Technical Services. Sometimes he gets a little artsy and the writing gets, like, a little cheesy, but it’s Tony freakin’ Mendez, he can write however he wants and I’d still be totally enraptured. You’ve seen Argo? This is the crazy son of a gun who actually did the real Argo mission.
The Codebreakers - David KahnThis one is… hard. I’ll give it to you straight, this one is not an easy read. It’s about three inches thick, and the font is tiny, and the language is really hard to digest if you’re not already well down the espionage rabbit hole. Imagine reading Order of the Pheonix, except you didn’t read the first four Harry Potter books first. That’s what this book feels like. I still have a pretty hard time with this one. HOWEVER. If you get to the point where you’re really getting into it, and you think you’re willing to devote a good couple of weeks to this single book, then The Codebreakers is widely considered to be the foremost book on all things cryptography. And it is really fascinating, if you can actually get yourself to read it.
Let’s say, though, that you can’t afford any of these books and/or find them at your local library (ask your local library to order them—they usually have money put aside for patron requests. Yay, libraries!). There’s a whole lot of online resources to learn about spies, too!
Also, movies can be very helpful. They are often dramatized, but there’s a real value in gaining a narrative understanding of a story before you delve into the factual details of it. I really adored Argo, Bridge of Spies, and Catch Me If You Can (And also Man from UNCLE, but please don’t use Man from UNCLE to establish any of your standards about espionage, it’s so horrible).
This list will likely continue to grow. There is always more to learn about espionage, and I wish you all the luck on your espionage adventures!
So I really wanted to draw Keith in a female disguise and it kinda turned into this Rival Spy AU where Shiro and Keith work for different sides (Voltron and Galra). I have plenty of headcannons I want to draw in the future but basically for now, they have secret romantic rendezvous (though, most of them are unplanned like shown above) and Keef just seriously needs a chill pill (he’s a paranoid bby)…
Keith just came from an undercover mission and he’s still on the edge. Poor Keef is stressed okay? Shiro is cute but isn’t helping…
Before she joined the Avengers Initiative, Natasha Romanoff was a part of a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents along with Sharon Carter and Maria Hill. Watch them battle the villain of the week, infiltrate numerous organizations and fight over the last piece of pizza and maybe fall in love.
Booop~! Ayeee, so I decided to make this AU a thing (I got attached to Keith)! I’m really getting into the idea and possible plots for a few comic bits. If you guys have any questions about the plot and characters, feel free to ask! It helps me work out the kinks of this AU.
Shiro’s agent profile is coming out next so stay tuned for it!
In honor of Harry’s big day, I wanted to share this cute Harry story with everyone. It’s kind of long, and I’m sorry if I bore you with the detail, but the detail is what makes it interesting, IMO - so I hope you read the whole thing.
Back in 2014 , my boyfriend, Jesse, was working as a special events media coordinator for a very large and popular venue in London. This was a cool thing because he often would get to meet the talent. He’s met a bunch of different people along the way which of course included, One Direction.
I had just met Jesse in the early part of 2014 so we weren’t dating yet when 1D was in town. I wasn’t a 1D fan either, so when he told me about it I didn’t really care. It was only after I saw Harry on SNL later that year (I think it was December) that I actually was fuming with envy that Jesse got to meet him.
Before the 1D show, Jesse first spotted Harry from a distance. He was walking down the hallway and peeked in to one of the dressing rooms only to see a long-limbed “skinny kid” lying on the sofa, with a woman standing over him with her hand on his forehead, as if she were gauging his temperature. Jesse didn’t know who the woman was or who the kid was (he couldn’t see because his face was turned toward the back of the couch). Anyway, the woman spotted Jesse walking by and waived at him to hold up a minute because she wanted to talk to him. She walked out of the room and shut the door behind her so she could talk to Jess in the hallway. She introduced herself (yes, you probably already guessed it was Lou Teasedale) and explained that H wasn’t feeling well and wondered if there were any blankets around, but she asked that he keep the news to himself - rather than getting someone else to find the stuff and bring it to them. Jesse, of course, was happy to provide whatever was needed (because he’s like that) and he scurried off to get it (even though this really wasn’t his job, he was happy to help and he liked the “spy stuff” about keeping it quiet)..
When he brought the juice and blanket back to the room, Harry’s eyes flew open and he smiled, Lou introduced Harry to Jesse, except when she said his name, Harry got it wrong and thought she said Jeffrey. Harry said, “Hi Jeffrey, thanks”. Jesse, of course, didn’t have the heart to correct him, so he just smiled and nodded and waived and told him he hoped he’d feel better before the show. Harry gave him a thumbs up and said “thanks, you too” (LOL) and Lou smiled and hugged Jesse and thanked him, then Jesse left the room.
He assumed this was the first and only interaction he’d have with Harry, but lo and behold, it wasn’t.
About two hours later, a completely revived Harry was bouncing around in one of the media rooms where 1D was meeting some photographers and some fans for a meet and greet type of thing. He was clearly feeling much better and had a huge cup of coffee in his hand while he was smiling and laughing and talking.
Anyway, being that he’s Harry, he spotted “Jeffrey” across the room and walked over to him, shook his hand and thanked him again. Jesse asked him how he was doing, and Harry said he was fine he’d been struggling with hay fever but he was feeling better after his inhaler and an hour under a humidifier mask (not sure what that is, but…ok).
Someone else called to Jesse from across the room, and it was only then that Harry realized he had his name wrong, that he wasn’t “Jeffrey”, he was Jesse. So Harry was embarrassed and shook his hand again and RE-INTRODUCED himself to Jesse. LOL, So they chuckled about it for a little bit and Jesse said Harry was really sweet and polite and funny. They chatted about what Jesse had done before this job and they ended up talking about a motorcycle museum that Jesse used to work at and Harry was thrilled, so they chatted about that for a little bit.
Then Harry finally went off to do his thing and Jesse never saw him again, but I always thought it was a neat story because it just reiterates what everyone always says about Harry. He’s sweet, funny, very down to earth and easy to talk to. Jesse was impressed with him (and he doesn’t impress easily), and their interaction has been something Jesse and I talk about once in a while. He likes to use it against me, because he’s an ass-hat, but our love of Harry Styles has become one of the many things Jesse and I have in common. He even knows I have a tumblr blog about him and he isn’t disturbed by it at all.