Regular readers of this blog are well-aware of its importance as a voice for sanity at a time of great domestic and strategic turmoil.  Col. Lang has tirelessly hosted this Committee of Correspondence for the past 18 years. 

During the same time, he has been a prolific writer, producing a trilogy of novels about espionage during the Civil War.  More recently, he has written a memoir, Tattoo: A Memoir of Becoming, which catalogues his formative years, his vast military career, and his years in the Senior Executive Service as a Military Attaché, and the head of Defense HUMINT with the Defense Intelligence Agency.  His story catalogues a generation that spanned the Cold War and the first years of the post-Cold War. 

This month, he has released an updated edition of The Human Factor: The Phenomenon of Espionage, which is a primer on the art of espionage—recruitment, agent management, and the skill-sets unique to successful case officers.  He provides a rich history of some of the most significant espionage operations, from the American Revolution through the Cold War with the unique insights that can only come from an accomplished practitioner.

As of this writing, there have been more than 35,000 unique visits to the Turcopolier home page where the Lang books are advertised.  But very few of you readers have purchased any of the books. 

I, for one, have purchased and read them all.  They are outstanding pieces of literature that should be widely read and incorporated into the general body of knowledge about these past decades of our world history. 

You regular readers and commenters on this blog will have a deeper appreciation than most of the unique insights in these volumes.  If you have noticed over the years that Col. Lang never pulls his punches in commenting on the critical events of the day, you will find these books to be full of the kinds of insights and stories that you come to expect. I can assure you it is well worth the time and is a most fitting show of support and appreciation for the dedicated work of Colonel Lang over more than half a century.

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  1. Whitewall says:


  2. Deap says:

    Reading Human Factor right now – gaining great insights on a topic that has long fascinated me (spy craft), but only knew very superficially. History, facts and interwoven personal stories and insights to drive home the teaching points.

    This very accessible book has it all for great summer reading, particularly for those who have only approached this topic from the outside looking in.

    Makes me think indeed the tape cassette sent to my parents after my trip to Moscow-Leningrad, while I was living in Switzerland in the 1970’s, was in fact “debriefed” at the border, rather than its contents just “lost in the mail”.

    This cassette mailing ended up at my parents address in California only as an empty envelope stamped by USPS as “contents missing.” Was it in fact a trove of inadvertent traveller “humint”? Was this armchair Mata Hari sending an accurate assessment that the Soviet Union was nothing but a paper tiger, at least on the domestic front, compared to the media impressions we Americans were still getting about them – cold, hard, brutally efficient. Hardly.

    Did my keen on the spot intelligence tourist reports lead to Reagan’s later demand to tear down that Wall, knowing now it was made only out of styrofoam?

    And what was the fuss made by some locals over one of my Swiss tour group’s “Rado wrist watch” who were hanging out at the Intourist Hotel on Red Square – was that a surreptitious sign she was part of a Soviet spy network too?

    I was too busy drinking black market ruble champagne and devouring fresh caviar to pay much attention at the time. The Intourist Hotel was only place where black market rubles smuggled into the country by two other Italian tour group members could be (illegally?) spent. So it was party time on their account to keep them from having to smuggle any left over rubles out too. The other tourist shops in town demanded US dollars only.

    So it is nice to read how real spy craft works in this book, from a real life professional and how very gritty and scary the whole thing could be once one embarks down this path in real time. Not just my own giddy imagination.

  3. joe90 says:

    OK checked, it cannot be shipped to Spain.

  4. joe90 says:

    by Amazon, probably EU

  5. joe90 says:

    just to let you know
    Sorry, this item can’t be shipped to your selected address. Learn more. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order.

    That is for all your books in Spain. I was trying for “death piled hard” then wtf lets get all 3.
    I was really thinking a confed view of that war would be interesting

  6. Barbara Ann says:

    Thanks for the prompt Harper. I am eagerly awaiting my copy of The Human Factor.

    As for Tattoo what can I say, “extraordinary” is a wholly inadequate word. My abiding impression is that the character described (significantly, in the third person) would not be out of place in the pages of an Arthurian tale or Homeric epic.

  7. Christopher Thompson says:

    As someone who is extremely picky about how physical books are printed and bound these days (don’t get me started, I will go on and on)- I was pleasantly surprised when my hardback of Tattoo arrived. Whoever formatted, designed, and printed it knows what they are doing and it is a book I can read, return to, and pass on for other generations to do the same. The price is a fair price and simply what it costs to do the job right these days (most books you see on the tables at BN were done wrong.) Excited to order The Human Factor, and to check out the others!

  8. KMD says:

    I visited the Museum at VMI this Sunday. Bought The Butcher’s Cleaver in the gift shop.

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