Books for people who like Homeland
January 23, 2013 11:12 PM   Subscribe

I love the TV show Homeland. It's very different from the kinds of things I'm normally into, but now I'm hooked. I would like to find some books that would scratch the same itch, to keep me going untl next season. Ideally I'd like non-fiction, because I'd like to learn more about how all this stuff goes down, but I realize that due to the nature of the topic, it's hard to get detailed non-fiction accounts. So I'm open to fiction if it isn't really over the top.

The CIA angle is the most interesting thing to me, much more so than the military or simple "catching terrorists" part (so I'm not sure something like No Easy Day is quite right). I also enjoy the technical aspects (even though some of it in Homeland isn't completely realistic), so something that includes that kind of thing would be awesome (and in general I'm more interested in modern accounts than historical stuff). I prefer something set in the US, but if it's not set in the US, at least involving the US government (nothing against British spies, but that's not what I'm after).

I'm open to both thriller-type stories similar to Homeland, and books that would give more general background on how the agencies and operations really work.

Any suggestions?
posted by primethyme to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I highly recommend Olen Steinhauer: The Tourist, The Nearest Exit and An American Spy.
posted by inire at 1:31 AM on January 24, 2013

Also, they are still on my 'to read' pile but James Bamford has written a number of non-fiction books about the NSA that have been well-reviewed, the most recent being 2008's The Shadow Factory.

Steve Coll's Ghost Wars won a Pulitzer and is about the CIA, but might be too specific for you (it focuses on the CIA's activities in Afghanistan between the Soviet invasion and 9/11).
posted by inire at 3:04 AM on January 24, 2013

For non-fiction, you might try Jawbreaker, written by an ex-CIA guy. For fiction, you my try Alex Bereson's "John Wells" series. The first book has some parallels to Homeland: Wells spends several years inside Al Quaeda in Afghanistan; when he comes out, his handlers wonder if he can be trusted.
posted by kovacs at 5:00 AM on January 24, 2013

The Shadow Factory is a great book, but it's about the NSA's spying on American citizens, not the hunt for terrorists. So, I'm not sure how closely it matches what the OP is asking about. But I do recommend reading the book in any event.
posted by dfriedman at 5:20 AM on January 24, 2013

Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" is a pretty great primer on how the War on Terror ended up being conducted the way it was, from inside many of the agencies involved.
posted by eponym at 5:23 AM on January 24, 2013

Not a book, but checkout Hatufim.
posted by jindc at 7:08 AM on January 24, 2013

I know you said no British spies, but I can't help but push, "The Sandbaggers", just because it's some of the best spy tv I've ever seen.

It does have a lot of the CIA in it, but mostly politically because British Intelligence is so underfunded in comparison that they end up begging the CIA for information sharing a lot, and having to figure out what they're willing to give up in return.

Although there is one episode that does take place in the United States that is very good.
posted by bswinburn at 9:50 AM on January 24, 2013

See No Evil by Robert Baer was very good.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2013

If you don't mind watching a little more TV, you could try "Rubicon". It was an AMC series from a few years ago that didn't get renewed, but was great nonetheless. Very twisty and turny, and I thought a completely rewarding view. It involves a small US intelligence organization trying to track down an al Queda terrorist. Think "Zero Dark Thirty" crossed with "Three Days of the Condor". Amazon has it streaming, and its free for Amazon Prime subscribers. I took the 30 days free just so I could watch it.
posted by hwestiii at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2013

Anything by Graham Greene or John le Carre.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:32 AM on February 1, 2013

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