The 24 Days of Christmas – Day 16

As we all know, Christmas is fast approaching and as we all also know, many of you will be struggling to think of interesting gift ideas for your nearest and dearest. ‘What shall we buy to show our love?!’ we hear you cry. Well, fear not, for we at the Fold know that sometimes, thinking beyond the usual DVD boxsets/smellies/Xbox games can be a little difficult, and so over the course of December we endeavour to bring you a new gift idea each day on the run-up to Christmas, totalling 24, and with each one we shall also bring you an accompanying song that somehow represents the gift in some way. ‘Gift ideas and related entertainment?!’ we hear you now crying! ‘How on Earth do they manage it?!’

Day #16 – The Official CIA Manual of Trickery & Deception

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We all know someone with a (sometimes unhealthy) interest in the world of espionage. Well, for those people, who let’s face it, are notoriously difficult to buy for, get them the 1953 edition of the Official CIA Manual of Trickery & Deception.

Intelligence historian Melton and retired CIA officer Wallace (coauthors of Spycraft) reunite for this unremarkable reproduction of a long-lost cold war–era relic. In 1953, the fledgling CIA hired professional magician John Mulholland to adapt his techniques of stealth and misdirection to the craft of espionage. Mulholland produced two illustrated manuals featuring a range of tricks from placing pills into drinks to stealing documents and avoiding detection. The classified manuals were believed to have been destroyed in 1973, but the authors discovered a copy in 2007 among recently declassified CIA archives. The manuals are reproduced along with enhanced illustrations and an extended introduction by Melton and Wallace. Despite the authors’ best efforts to promote their discovery of Mulholland’s work as a rare piece of historical evidence of the CIA’s legacy of black arts, the manuals, with their earnest, how-to descriptions of surreptitiously spiking drinks, palming documents and signaling colleagues with a feather in a hat band seem more quaintly anachronistic than revealing or sinister.

© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Pretty cool, huh? Available from Amazon.

And to play us out, from the hilarious ‘I Spy’ starring Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson and Famke Janssen…

James

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