John H. Waller

John H. Waller died on 4 November 2004. Washington Post, "CIA Official John Waller; Was Historian and Author," 7 Nov. 2004, C8. OSS Society Newsletter, Editors, "OSS Society Chairman John H. Waller Dies: Former CIA Inspector General" (Winter 2004-2005): 1-2. Includes sidebar remembrances by James Lilley and Joe Goulden.

Waller, John H. Beyond the Khyber Pass: The Road to British Disaster in the First Afghan War. New York: Random House, 1990. [pb] Austin, TX: University of Texas, 1992.

Surveillant 1.2 notes that this work deals with the "wars and international intrigues of the nineteenth century in India and Afghanistan." Beyond the Khyber Pass is a "first-rate history by this former OSS/CIA official."


Waller, John H.

1. "The Devil's Doctor: Felix Kersten." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 299-329.

Kersten was Himmler's "personal physical therapist and confidant... He was also in clandestine contact with the Finnish and Swedish governments and the Dutch underground..., as well as with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services in Sweden."

2. The Devil's Doctor: Felix Kersten and the Secret Plot to Turn Himmler against Hitler. New York: Wiley, 2002.

Jonkers, Intelligencer 13.1, calls this "an outrageous story that provides exceptional insight in the personalities at the top of the Nazi machine." For Troy, IJI&C 16.1, the author "has brought to the research and writing of this book the virtues and skills of an accomplished scholar and the insights of an experienced intelligencer."

Peake, Studies 46.4, comments that "[i]n telling this fascinating and little known story, John Waller provides a unique portrait of the weak, disgusting, evil Himmler, and his henchman, Walter Schellenberg, as they schemed to make peace with the West, turn the war against the Russians, and save something of the Third Reich."

3. "Reichsführer Himmler Pitches Washington." Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 1 (2002): 31-38.

An OSS officer in Stockholm, Abram Hewitt, was approached by Felix Kersten and Walter Schellenberg with a proposal from Himmler to oust Hitler and negotiate peace with the Western Allies. In the end, the Allies did not go forward with the idea.


Waller, John H. "The Double Life of Admiral Canaris." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 271-289.

Waller focuses on the role of Canaris in the German Resistance, and raises questions about why Himmler, who knew of Canaris' activities, allowed him to remain free as long as he did. The author also suggests that the main reason for assassinating Heydrich "was to eliminate the one man who posed a serious threat to Canaris."


Waller, John H. "In Search of Wisdom: When Estimates Are Wrong and Actions Defy Logic." Intelligencer 15, no. 3 (Summer/Fall 2007): 39-41.

Philosophical musings on "wrong" intelligence estimates.


Waller, John H. "Josiah Harlan: American Freebooter in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 429-439.

Harlan played on multiple sides in the Great Game from 1823 to 1839.


Waller, John H. The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War. New York: Random House, 1996.

For Mapother, WIR 15.5, the author has met the challenge of assembling the story of the German resisters from numerous sources in an engaging fashion. Despite its achievements, the book exhibits some proofreading problems and material has been included that bears little relevance to the main story. Nevertheless, this work is "a more sophisticated approach to history that students of the foreign news in this country would find stimulating."

Friedman, Parameters, Summer 1997, says that Waller's book is "an invaluable source of information about German resistance to Hitler and, in particular, the role of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris.... The book uses details heretofore unavailable to link new revelations to previously available data; Waller deserves credit for putting them together in a coherent text." Powers, NYRB, 9 Jan. 1997, calls the book "a good, although incomplete, introduction to the role of intelligence in the war."

According to Bates, NIPQ, Oct. 1997, this "particularly well-researched book ... reveals a great deal of new information about the terribly tangled web of intrigue on both sides -- Allied and Axis." The focus of the work is, however, on Canaris and the German resistance to Hitler. To Witmer, at, The Unseen War "is well-written, entertaining and informative, a good combination for a history book. It contains insights on the gathering and use of intelligence that could be helpful to modern policy-makers."

[WWII/Eur/Ger/Canaris & Resistance]

Return to Wall-Walm