United States

H - O

Harris, Charles H., III, and Louis R. Sadler.

1. The Archaeologist Was a Spy:  Sylvannus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Albuquerque, NM:  University of New Mexico Press, 2003. 

Peake, Studies 47.3, notes that Morley "was a 33-year-old Harvard-trained archaeologist studying the Mayan civilization in Mexico and Central America" when in 1917 he proposed to ONI that "he and a group of colleagues serve as agents in Central America." They were "to provide data on German, and later Japanese, efforts to establish submarine bases in the region.... The authors deal in some detail with ONI organizational problems, agent communications, relationships with American firms in the area, and the problems of maintaining cover when suspected of being spies." This work "is well documented with copies of Morley reports and primary source citations."

For Brooks, NIPQ 19.3, the authors have clearly documented Morley's work with ONI, providing "almost day-to-day accounts of his exploits." Beyond that, however, they "have made an even greater contribution to the history of ONI by obtaining the declassification of ONI records of the World War I era which document the far-flung nature of ONI agent operations." See also, Jamie Bisher, "Hunt for Superweapons, Circa 1918," The Submarine Review, Jul. 2004.

2. The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.

For Benbow, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), the authors' "story flows smoothly," and they "write with wit and humor." Although "Harris and Sadler failed to discuss in sufficient detail ... the role of third-party actors,... the book is well-done and should be read by anyone interested in the Mexican Revolution or in American intelligence operations in the years before the development of formal intelligence processes."

Hinrichs, Ernest H. Listening In: Intercepting German Trench Communications in World War I. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane, 1996.

Kruh, Cryptologia 21.4, identifies this as a "first-hand account of the author's experience as a World War I listening station intercept operator at the front lines.... Hinrichs also gives a detailed account of an early deception operation during the second phase of Meuse-Argonne offensive."

Johnson, Thomas M. Our Secret War: True American Spy Stories, 1917-1919. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1929.

Kahn, David. The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Intelligence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

Clark comment: This is an excellent biography of a difficult human being. That it reads easily should extend its reach beyond those just interested in cryptology and the beginnings of American COMINT. Kahn does not paint over Yardley's weaknesses, but in the end gives him the honor that he could not win in life.

After referring to Kahn as "the ultimate historian of cryptology," Levine, JIH 5.1 (Summer 2005), goes on to note that this "book is much more than the story of Yardley. Periodically, Kahn presents the various interfaces between Yardley and Friedman, contrasting their personalities, skills and weaknesses. He also shows the relationships Yardley had with other early U.S. cryptologist[s].... It is a must read for those interested in this history. Extensive endnotes and lists of core and published sources will be invaluable for those who wish to pursue this interest."

Johnson, Studies 48.2 (2004), finds that "Kahn has achieved the balance that all biographers hope for." The book "makes a fascinating read" but does not rehabilitate Yardley, as "Kahn condemns Yardley for his character flaws, his perpetual self-promotion, and his lack of imagination." For Powers, NYRB 52.8 (12 May 2005), the Yardley "who emerges in Kahn's briskly paced portrait is gifted, complex, resourceful, and often disappointed." The work includes "wonderful accounts ... of some of Yardley's greatest feats. Here Kahn's mastery of the field gives his book genuine intellectual excitement."

To Goulden, Washington Times, 1 Aug. 2004, this is "[a] lively read, even for those of us who know not the slightest thing about ciphers and codes." Freedman, FA 83.4 (May-Jun. 2004), comments that this book "includes more than one needs to know about Yardley, but it is at least an entertaining read." Kruh, Cryptologia 28.2, says that the author "does a magnificent job in detailing" Yardley's life. "This is a terrific book about an extraordinary individual."

Kahn's conclusion that Yardley could not rise above his personal limitations is endorsed by Hanyok, I&NS 20.4 (Dec. 2005). The reviewer notes that, writing in "his usually clear and crisp style, Kahn breathes life into the story of Yardley and American codebreaking." Stout, JIH 7.1 (Summer 2007), says that "Kahn has succeeded admirably in describing Yardley and explaining and bounding his significance."

Keene, Jennifer D. "Uneasy Alliances: French Military Intelligence and the American Army during the First World War." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 18-36.

From abstract: "During the First World War, French liaison officers ... provided valuable intelligence about the American army to French military authorities.... Non-adversarial spying on the Americans improved the French military's ability to understand and work with their ally."

Kennan, George F. "The Sisson Documents." Journal of Modern History 28 (Jun. 1956): 130-154. [Petersen]

Landau, Henry. The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of German Sabotage in America. New York: Putnam's, 1937.

Constantinides: Landau headed the Military Division of the British secret service in Holland from 1916. After the war, he investigated "claims by Americans against the German government for damages done in the United States by acts of sabotage prior to" the U.S. entry into the war. The first part of the book is "a brief history of German sabotage and intelligence activities both before and after the U.S. entry into the war." The second part focuses on the claims and associated litigation.

Langbart, David A.

1. "Five Months in Petrograd 1918: Robert W. Imbrie and the US Search for Information in Russia." Studies in Intelligence 52, no. 1 (Mar. 2008) (Web Supplement). Available at:

The author provides an overview of Vice Consul Imbrie's stint in Petrograd, and includes two documents written by Imbrie after his return to Washington. These materials offer a good look at U.S. efforts to gather information on the threatening German forces and to keep up with events in Revolutionary Russia and their impact on World War I. The story also makes plain the ad hoc nature of U.S. intelligence collection at the time.

2. "'Spare No Expense': The Department of State and the Search for Information About Bolshevik Russia, November 1917-September 1918." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 2 (Apr. 1989): 316-334.

Langbart describes the use of the Diplomatic and Consular services in "the first major effort of the United States government to learn about and gather information from inside Bolshevik Russia.... [T]he effort grew to include unconventional methods involving temporary officials and offices scattered throughout Russia."

Larsen, Daniel. "British Intelligence and the 1916 Mediation Mission of Colonal Edward M. House." Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 5 (Oct. 2010): 682-704.

From abstract: "[T]his article reconstructs British intelligence's activities with respect to House's mission, examines the countermeasures that House employed as he attempted to protect the secrecy of his negotiations, delineates the role played by different British intelligence agencies and assesses their response to their findings."

Lasswell, Harold D. Propaganda Technique in the World War. New York: Knopf, 1927. London: Kegan Paul, 1938. New York: Peter Smith, 1938. [pb] Propaganda Technique in World War I. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971. [pb]

Lerner at MIT Press: "This classic book on propaganda technique focuses on American, British, French, and German experience in World War I. The book sets forth a simple classification of various psychological materials used to produce certain specific results and proposes a general theory of strategy and tactics for the manipulation of these materials."

Lebow, Eileen F. A Grandstand Seat: The American Balloon Service in World War I. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

From publisher: The "American Balloon Service worked in combat to help direct artillery fire more accurately and provide essential intelligence on enemy troop movements.... By the U.S. entry [in]to the war in 1917, the balloon service [had] evolved into an effective, disciplined fighting unit.... Reminiscences from balloon veterans form the basis of this book."

Maechling, Charles, Jr. "Scandal in Wartime Washington: The Craufurd-Stuart Affair of 1918." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4, no. 3 (Fall 1990): 357-370. See also, Egerton, "Diplomacy, Scandal, and Military Intelligence: The Craufurd-Stuart Affair and Anglo-American Relations, 1918-20," I&NS 2.4 (Oct. 1987): 110-134.

Mahoney, Harry T., and Marjorie L. Mahoney. American Prisoners of the Bolsheviks, 1917-1922: The Genesis of Modern American Intelligence. Bethesda, MD: Academica, 2001.

Millman, Chad. The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice. New York: Little, Brown, 2006.

Boghardt, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), notes that the Black Tom explosions of July 1916 are discussed; but the "main focus is on the ... legal battles of the German-American Mixed Claims Commission" after the war. The author's "elucidation of the fluid German secret service networks that operated in the United States throughout the period of American neutrality" is of "particular interest.... Unfortunately, the book's readability occasionally comes at the expense of accuracy and nuance.... Millman's lack of nuance is partially due to the fact that he ignores German sources and scholarship." Nonetheless, the author "tells an exciting story and captures the big picture."

Mock, James R.

1. Censorship 1917. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1941. [Petersen]

2. and Cedric Larson. Words that Won the War: The Story of the Committee on Public Information, 1917-1919. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1939.

Woolbert, FA (Apr. 1940): "This scholarly study is based on a careful examination of the papers of the Creel 'Committee on Public Information.'"

Neiberg, Michael S. "World War I Intrigue: German Spies in New York!", 27 Feb. 2013. (Originally published by Military History magazine.)

"On July 30, 1916, German saboteurs targeted the ammunition depot on New Jersey's Black Tom Island, shipping point for three-quarters of U.S. ammunition bound for Allied Europe. The resulting explosion was heard as far away as Philadelphia."

O'Brien, John L. "Uncle Sam's Spy Policies: Safeguarding American Liberty During the War." Forum 61 (1948): 592-611.

Calder: "During World War I, every person was considered a spy chaser.... Wrongs were committed by 'amateur detectives.'"

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