Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives

Though slightly unrelated to the military veterans we honor today, I thought of this book (and McCullough’s “1776”) as perhaps the closest thing I’ve read that relates to military history.

At CIA headquarters, there’s a wall with more than 70 stars (71 at the time this was first published in 2001)—each representing a CIA officer who died in the line of duty. However, less than half are identified by name, with the remaining stars left nameless. It became author Ted Gup’s mission to give names and faces to those stars, and with painstaking research, he uncovered the striking, poignant and tragic stories behind many of them.

Gup’s writing is dry, but meticulous. And frankly, the stories of these men and women speak for themselves. Officers making the ultimate sacrifice for our country, yet unrecognized for a myriad of reasons—usually security. It’s also old school—because it’s written prior to 9/11, these are the stories of people who served in Nicaragua, Beirut, Mogadishu—I can only imagine the stories a sequel would bring.

If you like your history with a tinge of mystery, this is an excellent read—just not an easy one.

Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives
Ted Gup


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