“The Human Factor: the phenomenon of espionage”

“This succinct no-nonsense primer on the business of espionage looks at the history of human intelligence gathering, known as HUMINT, from the Revolutionary War to the present. Extremely well-written, it is equally valuable for training case officers and intelligence analysts and for fans of espionage novels and movies who want to know what it’s really like. Case studies profile some of the most important figures in espionage history who have impacted world events, including Arnold Deutsch, the famous spy who recruited the Cambridge network of spies for Soviet intelligence. Topics covered include methods of collecting intelligence, recruiting, “tradecraft” or operational methods, the future of spying, and personality traits and education needed for a successful case officer. A “must” read” for anyone considering a career in intelligence and an invaluable textbook for courses on national security.” Amazon blurb

Comment: This revision and re-publication of my first book is now available at iUniverse Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. pl

The Human Factor: The Phenomenon of Espionage: Lang, W. Patrick: 9781663235428: Amazon.com: Books

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15 Responses to “The Human Factor: the phenomenon of espionage”

  1. Leith says:

    I’ll order a copy via my local independent bookstore. Don’t want to use Amazon and add to Bezos’s mega-billions. No way I move him up to first place in Bloomberg’s billionaires index and Forbes.

    I see you cover Cambridge. That’s been a prime spy recruitment source for all sides since at least Christopher Marlowe.

  2. SoMuchToLearn says:

    Dear Colonel,

    I just tried to purchase your book off Amazon UK and it is showing as out of stock?

    The price BTW is showing as £9.95 (around $13?).

    Best wishes

    • Pat Lang says:


      It is “print on demand.” So that does not mean much. That would be for the soft cover?

      • SoMuchToLearn says:

        Yes, the paperback.

        Print on Demand (POD) is how Amazon sells most of its books – something is amiss if they can’t fulfil by POD and the message ‘out of stock’ just doesn’t make sense for POD orders?

        BTW, thank you for your site, in these times a valuable source.

  3. Deap says:

    Thanks. Looks like a perfect primer for those who know little about the real world of “spy craft”. Practical knowledge will go a long way. Particularly from a trusted resource.

  4. Nena says:

    Could you make a sketch of “personality traits and education needed for a successful case officer”?

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S: I would like ordering the book, it looks great, but due the state of affairs here and that we are already at war, the order will be tracked to me, and that I find most insecure at this moment…Thus, will cop with the desire of getting it, waiting for better times…Meanwhile I will read, “By way of deception…whatever…” which I think I keep bookmarked in my old computer and which one Serge linked at other site time ago….

  5. Nena says:

    Wondering whether someone here has read the last postume novel by John Le Carre, “Project Silverview” and which are your impressions….

    I saw it this past day at the mall and was about to buy it, but ended buying another one…

  6. Pat Lang says:

    No. Buy the book.

  7. kral says:

    Anything in there about the problem of enemy counter-espionage – catching and using your agents against you. I am thinking of the 1990’s scandal wherein the CIA discovered after the fact that their entire network of double agents in the USSR had been under the control of the Soviets.

    How to avoid falling prey to deception operations generally?

    What about the problem of vicious personal rivalries, and even paranoia, as in the case of James Jesus Angleton?

    What about pressure from the consumers of intelligence to produce analysis that furthers a certain predetermined agenda?

  8. jim ticehurst says:


    I Will Do What I can To Buy This Book..At The Local Book Store..Cover Is Excllent..Sharp,,Attractive.. Well Done…

  9. cobo says:

    Got the original, just haven’t yet gotten to it – need to reorder the stack… I have a lot of John Keegan up.

  10. Leith says:

    Slovakia just expelled a Russian assistant military attache, Lt. Col. Sergey Solomasov. Gut did a pretty damn poor bit of tradecraft. Plus apparently tried to recruit the wrong guy. He was videotaped during the process. Was his intended recruit wearing a wire or did they get the audio from a shotgun mic? In any case, I’m sure there is a ton of pressure right now from the GRU to get some HUMINT within NATO, so probably Solomasov was pushed into this hasty attempt by his bosses.


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