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Seduced by Secrets


  • Page extent: 392 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.65 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 327.1243/1009045
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: UB271.G35 M33 2008
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Intelligence service--Technological innovations--Germany (East)
    • Espionage, East German
    • Germany (East).--Ministerium für Staatssicherheit

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521887472)

  • Published March 2008

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$42.99 (G)

More fascinating than fiction, Seduced by Secrets takes the reader inside the real world of one of the most effective and feared spy agencies in history. The book reveals, for the first time, the secret technical methods and sources of the Stasi (East German Ministry for State Security) as it stole secrets from abroad and developed gadgets at home, employing universal, highly guarded techniques often used by other spy and security agencies. Seduced by Secrets draws on secret files from the Stasi archives, including CIA-acquired material, interviews and friendships, court documents, and unusual visits to spy sites, including "breaking into" a prison, to demonstrate that the Stasi overestimated the power of secrets to solve problems and created an insular spy culture more intent on securing its power than protecting national security. It recreates the Stasi's secret world of technology through biographies of agents, defectors, and officers and by visualizing James Bond–like techniques and gadgets. In this highly original book, Kristie Macrakis adds a new dimension to our understanding of the East German Ministry for State Security by bringing the topic into the realm of espionage history and exiting the political domain.


Part I. High-Tech: 1. Agent Gorbachev; 2. Stealing secrets; 3. Hero, traitor, playboy, spy; 4. The crown jewels; 5. Kid and Paul; 6. The computer fiasco; Part II. Spy-Tech: 7. James Bond, communist style; 8. Communicating secrets; 9. Secret writing revealed; 10. Eye spy; 11. Big ears; 12. Smell science; 13. Spy dust.

Prize Winner

A History Book Club Featured Selection


“Thoroughly researched, Seduced by Secrets gives us an important, unmatched, insider account of East German intelligence. Kristie Macrakis writes with a scholar’s eye and novelist’s skills, revealing secrets and spy tradecraft never meant for public disclosure.”
Pete Earley, best-selling author of Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War

“This book on the vaunted GDR secret service provides a fascinating inside view of the Stasi’s spying efforts as well as technologies. Written in an accessible style, it is nonetheless based on exhaustive research in the Stasi files and many oral interviews. The first part paints vivid pictures of some of the major spy cases of the Cold War. The second part, which will gladden the heart of any espionage aficionado, discusses spy technology from invisible ink to smell samples. The result is a remarkable and readable synthesis of the East German spying operations.”
Konrad Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Easily the most detailed, painstaking research yet undertaken on the Stasi’s techniques and secrets. Certainly the most absorbing analysis of an organization hitherto steeped in mystery.”
Nigel West, Director of Counterintelligence Studies, The Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Washington DC

"Seduced by Secrets makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of how the Stasi did what it did..."
Daniel Johnson, Commentary

"Drawing upon declassified documents seized from STASI files (it is now defunct) and interviews with former officers, Ms. Macrakis has produced a first-rate read...[This book] deserve[s] a five cloak-and-dagger rating. Good reading for the specialist and the layman alike."
Joseph C. Goulden, The Washington Times

"...fine scholarship and a valuable and unique contribution to intelligence literature. "
Hayden B. Peake, Studies in Intelligence

"Rarely does an intelligence book come along that offers unique insights on spy gadgetry beyond what has already been written, and the importance of Western technology...[for] the outcome of the Cold War...But then Kristie Macrakis is not your usual writer/author. Her Harvard doctorate in the history of science and technology, along with...teaching intelligence, and a life-long interest in the spy technology of the Cold War, has yielded a book that needed to be writtenŠThe book is assuredly a must for those spy literature aficionados interested in real, as opposed to fictional, spy stories."
Gene Poteat, The Intelligencer

"Seduced by Secrets is, and will likely remain, the best book on the former East German Ministerium fu¨r Staatssicherheit (Ministry for State Security or MfS) and its foreign intelligence service , the Hauptverwaltung Aufkla¨rung (Main Directorate Intelligence or HV A)."
Benjamin Fischer, Journal: International Journal for Intelligence and Counterintelligence.

"...the depth of the author’s research and her superior understanding of the German psyche are definite enablers for an astute reader."
John R. Arpin, Naval War College Review

"Macrakis provides a fascinating view inside the spy technology of the Stasi...sources have allowed her to paint a rich picture of the Stasi's quest for Western technology and its struggles to make use of acquired information.../Seduced by Secrets/ offers a revealing look at the difficult-to-observe history of a modern intelligence agency. It provides scholars with an insightful analysis and a new perspective for thinking about the relationship of technology and the Cold War..."
John Laprise,Technology and Culture

"...a powerful volume. It objectively details some of the MfS's most closely guarded secrets...Macrakis does not single out the Stasi and its East Bloc counterparts for condemnation. Instead, she clearly shows that many of these agencies' actions and techniques were "strikingly similar" to methods used by Western intelligence...In an era when Congress has often taken a back seat to an increasingly secretive executive branch, Macrakis' historical account offiers a potent reminder of the need for democratic oversight of intelligence agencies."
German Studies Review

“A brilliantly written report that is based on the evaluation of new files from the Birthler-Office [for the Stasi files] and the Rosenholz data. It is written with a detective’s nose and the precision of passion." -Urs Rauber /Neue Züricher Zeitung /am Sonntag (NZZ am Sonntag)

"Macrakis has written a terrific book that will make fascinating reading for general audiences as well as experts…. the author should be lauded for her willingness to move beyond the well-trodden path of Stasi research, especially to consider the material culture and scientific aspects of GDR spying, and the elegance with which she does it…/Seduced by Secrets/ provides fascinating insights into the role of technology at the East German Ministry of State Security (MfS)…highly recommended for anyone interested in espionage."
H-Net Review, Katrin Paehler

"...a revealing look at the difficult-to-observe history of modern intelligence agency."
John Laprise, Techonology and Culture

"Undergraduate students will delight in the writing style and the sensational revelations."
Gary Bruce, Journal of Cold War Studies

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