Alec Chambers' review of Adams' Sellout; Maas' Killer Spy; Weiner, Johnston, and Lewis' Betrayal; and Wise's Nightmover and a separate review of Earley's Confessions of a Spy can be read at "First four books on Ames case" and "Earley's book on Ames case," respectively.
Hayden Peake has published two consolidated reviews that include Earley's book: "A Mole in Residence," CIRA Newsletter 22, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 6-12; and "A Sign on the Roof: The Case of Aldrich Ames," American Intelligence Journal 17, no. 3/4: 90-94. The quotations included here come from the Newsletter version.
Also see the consolidated reviews by (1) Marie Arana-Ward, "The Man Who Sold the Secrets," Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 19-25 Jun. 1995, 35-36; (2) Joseph E. Evans, "The Ames Case: Various Versions," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 358-361; and (3) Thomas Powers, "No Laughing Matter," New York Review of Books (10 Aug. 1995) and Chapter 21 in Intelligence Wars (2004), 321-332.
Grimes, Sandra, and Jeanne Vertefeuille. Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2012.
From publisher: "Sandra Grimes is a twenty-six-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Service who spent the majority of her career working against the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.... Jeanne Vertefeuille was a CIA officer from 1954-1992, specializing in counterintelligence in the Soviet Union, and has served as a contract analyst since 1993."
See "The People of the CIA ... Ames Mole Hunt Team," at: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/ames-mole-hunt-team.html.
Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring/Summer 2013), finds that the book provides "a good idea of the complexities of agent handling in the field -- especially in Moscow -- and how they were supported at CIA Headquarters." Circle of Treason looks at the mole hunt in terms of "what was done -- and by whom and when -- and includes operational details." This "is an enormously important account of a complex, often frustrating case, written by those who did much of the work to solve it." To Wippl, IJI&C 26.3 (Fall 2013), this work "is a memorial" to the "two women CIA officers, what they did, how they did it, and what they endured to accomplish the unveiling of Aldrich Ames."
For Hoffman, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2012, the authors "write authentic sketches of agents ... betrayed by Ames," but they "do not spill all the beans." The "massive damage" Ames caused "is not addressed in much detail. The long years of investigating a CIA mole evidently left lingering resentments. The authors ... were so angry about who got which medals for working on the case that they boycotted the award ceremony. This book adds an insider perspective ... but is probably not the last word on the Ames case." Goulden, Washington Times, 31 Jan. 2013, and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), finds this "a disturbing read, but an essential one for anyone interested in the intricate detail work involved in a counterintelligence investigation."
Maas, Peter. Killer Spy: The Inside Story of the FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Aldrich Ames, America's Deadliest Spy. New York: Warner, 1995.
Clark comment: The subtitle here clearly establishes the author's point of view -- that of the FBI -- a circumstance not unexpected given the "exceptional cooperation" (Author's Note) he had from the Bureau.
For Arana-Ward, WPNWE (19-25 Jun. 1995), Maas' book "moves as swiftly as a police procedural, putting the reader in the bureau's shoes.... Ames ... is portrayed as the dreamy actor in the thrall of a scheming woman... What is troubling about Maas's book is its lack of sourcing. Dialogue is unaccounted for and thoughts seem pulled from the blue.... 'Killer Spy' is meant to be a whiz-bang read, not a sober work to be quoted with confidence."
Peake, CIRA Newsletter 22.2, concludes that overall Killer Spy "is an interesting summary, though it is not well sourced and -- inexcusably -- it lacks an index." The Surveillant 14.1 reviewer suggests that "Maas has had superb access to the FBI case agents handling Nightmover and ... he follows the case step-by-step in a you-are-there manner."
Weiner, Tim, David Johnston, and Neil A. Lewis. Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, An American Spy. New York: Random House, 1995.
Powers, NYRB (10 Aug. 1995) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 321-332, says that this work "is distinguished by some beautifully written passages, by a lucid structure that makes sense of the many complications of the investigation, and by a keen appreciation of the ways the case destroyed the career of R. James Woolsey." However, Wise's Nightmover is even better. In a similiar vein, Arana-Ward, WPNWE (19-25 Jun. 1995), notes that Betrayal "cannot claim the detail on Ames's CIA career that 'Nightmover' manages to include," but the book delivers context expertly ... and ends up as far more satisfying to read." Jeanne Vertefeuille is depicted as "part of the clog in the flow of the investigation."
Peake, CIRA Newsletter 22.2, comments on "interesting detail not found in the other books" on the Ames case. Nevertheless, the book "also has some strange errors." To Cohen, FA 74.5 (Sep.-Oct. 1995), this is "an excellent journalistic account of the Ames saga, relying on the public record and interviews."
According to Robbins, CIRA Newsletter 20.4 (reprinted from the Palm Beach Post), "Betrayal is by far the most complete and objective rendering" of the story of Ames' treachery among the initial four books on the subject. "It is a thorough, straightforward attempt to probe the mind of Ames, as well as explain why things went so terribly wrong with the Agency.... Betrayal's comprehensive examination of the complexities of Ames's interplay with the KGB is outstanding. The portrait of the personal drives and failings in the private life of Ames and his second wife, Rosario, is profound and penetrating."
Wise, David. Nightmover: How Aldrich Ames Sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
For Powers, NYRB (10 Aug. 1995) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 321-332, Wise's is the best of the first four books on the Ames case (Adams, Maas, and Weiner/Johnston/Lewis). This is because the author "brings to the case the deepest personal knowledge" of the world of intelligence. Nightmover "is filled with the sort of detail valued by those who seriously want to know what the spooks are up to." Peake, CIRA Newsletter 22.2, finds some of Wise's judgments about the meaning of the Ames case to be "both too sweeping and unsupported." Nevertheless, Nightmover "is well written, generally well sourced, and a valuable contribution to the intelligence literature."
Arana-Ward, WPNWE (19-25 Jun. 1995), notes that, in the "mole hunt" part of his narrative, Wise focuses on the "unassuming, white-haired" head of research for CIA Soviet division counterintelligence, Jeanne R. Vertefeuille. "Wise depicts Vertefeuille as the quiet engine that doggedly stripped away layers until there could be no doubt that Aldrich Ames was the man.... Wise's book is a thoroughly researched, carefully sourced account.... Wise's telling of [this complicated story] is level-headed and responsible, but there is evidence here of the race to publish. There are unnecessary repetitions.... And the early chapters describing the Russian agents who were working for the United States feel as if they were dropped in after the fact."
For Brandt, NameBase, "America's premier CIA-watching journalist has exceeded my expectations with this book, which I consider his best since he started CIA-watching in 1964.... Wise reports the story without moralizing and without obvious outrage; he lets the reader draw his own conclusions." Surveillant 4.2 comments that Wise's "[a]dmirable research" is conveyed "without a moment of boredom for the reader."
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