Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Honorable Treachery

A History of U.S. Intelligence, Espionage, and Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA

by G. J. A. O’Toole

A reissue of the first comprehensive history of American intelligence, espionage, and covert action—a book poised to capture a new audience in the wake of the recent NSA surveillance scandal.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 720
  • Publication Date November 11, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2328-2
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $22.00

About The Book

“In this eminently readable compendium of America’s experience with the secret arts of intelligence, Mr. O’Toole has performed a great service for our intelligence agencies and community.” —William E. Colby, former director, CIA

Foreign policy in peacetime and command decision in war have always been driven by intelligence, and yet these subjects have often been overlooked in standard histories. Honorable Treachery fills in the details, dramatically recounting every important intelligence operation since our nation’s birth. This includes how in 1795 President Washington mounted a covert operation to ransom American hostages in the Middle East; how in 1897 Kaiser Wilhelm II’s plans for an invasion of the United States were scuppered by the director of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence; and how President Woodrow Wilson created a secret agency called the Inquiry to compile intelligence for the peace negotiations at the end of World War I.

Honorable Treachery puts America’s use of covert intelligence into a broader historical context and is sure to appeal to anyone interested in American history and the secret workings of our country.


Honorable Treachery is a splendidly written, impeccably researched, and perfectly fascinating history of American involvement in the black arts from the days of George Washington to the Cuban missile crisis.” —The Washington Post Book World

“This very readable book will certainly be a valuable departure point for anybody interested in delving deeper into espionage, American-style.” —Associated Press

“O’Toole presents an exhaustive, highly detailed account of the evolution of America’s intelligence operations from the American Revolution through the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, emphasizing their pivotal role in helping to determine the outcome of their conflicts and crises great and small. O’Toole’s treatment of the subject is objective, thorough, and exceptionally interesting throughout.” —Sea Power

“G.J.A. O’Toole has rummaged deep in the dark closets of secret intelligence to come up with the best-documented and most comprehensive history of American intelligence yet written . . . The result is a unique historical overview of American intelligence that is essential reading for anyone that is interested in its past, present or future.” —International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

“This book is the most comprehensive description of all kinds of detailed intelligence activities from the American Revolution to World War II and the Cold War era.” —Dr. Ray S. Cline, Former Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA

Honorable Treachery is an entertaining and informative look at the 200-year history of American intelligence, espionage, and covert action. O’Toole, a former CIA employee, is a splendid writer with a wonderful skill for storytelling.” —Military History