cover image Ultimate Spy (Expanded)

Ultimate Spy (Expanded)

H. Keith Melton. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $30 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-8972-2

At once newly relevant in the age of Homeland Security, and eternally fascinating by dint of its sneakiness, the espionage game find concise historical and taxonomical representation in this revised edition of the 1996 original, a picture book of spy tools through the ages. Proceeding from the Civil War to the Hanssen era, each page follows the same formula of coupling flat photographs of the implements of spying with bite-size descriptions running alongside. Among the gadgets profiled are the ""induction telephone tap"" (a device clamped to an external phone cable for difficult-to-detect tapping) and the ""rectal tool kit"" (a lozenge-shaped plastic case containing, among other things, a saw blade, grinding tool and drill bit, all packaged for discrete transport). An introduction by former Director of the CIA Helms lends a certain adult credibility to this photo-encyclopedia, but really it seems aimed at the inner child lurking in every war buff and Robert Ludlum-ite in business class.