Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda goes on sale in stores today. I know you think I probably milked it for all it's worth, but there's actually a ton of mind-boggling spy gear in there that I didn't have a chance to cover on Giz, such as:
• Robotic critters, from the insectothopter of the 1970s to the robofish of today
• Cigars developed to kill, confuse or humiliate Fidel Castro—not surprisingly, one would have made his beard fall out.
• The beloved skyhook—yes, the thing that yanks people from the ground up into airplanes. Learn of its origins, early animal test runs and its one successful on-record mission.
• The Soviet's most amazing spy gadget, dubbed "The Thing" by befuddled CIA agents who didn't know how on earth it worked. It was built by Theremin, inventor of that wacky musical thingy, himself a part-time Soviet agent and researcher.
• Spies, spying and spy talk. Yes, the book may be focused on hardware, but man it's full of crazy stories about spies. The most interesting tales are about the Russians who were leaking info to the US, often upon pain of death. Stories of American traitors are pretty familiar, but you rarely get to hear about what went on over on the other side of the Curtain.
Meanwhile, here's a recap of what I did cover, in case you missed it:
• My interview with the authors
• Blow-up Sex Toys as In-Car Decoys
• A Speedboat Disguised as a Junk
• Hide and Seek, CIA Style
• The Inflatable Rescue Plane
• Animal Agents, Live and Dead
• A Gallery of CIA Spy Cameras
Anyway, I enjoyed the book and the authors, and I highly recommend it for a Father's Day gift. Needless to say, I've not received anything in return for this endorsement except a copy of the book itself, which they can have back when they pry it from my cold dead hands. [CIA Spycraft; Amazon Sales Page]