Great Courses: The Secret World of Espionage (Zoom)

Event Details

When you hear the word “spy,” you likely think of suavely dressed heroes driving fast cars, performing daring feats of adventure, and committing crimes the rest of us can’t get away with—with maybe time for a stiff drink or two. Cool? Certainly. True to historical reality? Absolutely not.

The world of espionage is shrouded in mystery—even to those in it. But so much of what we think we know about spy craft is rooted in literature and film and drama. Think Ian Fleming’s James Bond and John LeCarre’s George Smiley. Fictional spies loom large over our conception of covert operations and how they get done. But even though the true nature of espionage is quite different, that doesn’t mean history’s real spies are any less heroic—or less fascinating.

Consider how integral spies have been in shaping our world, often in ways we can’t possibly fathom. They’ve created governments. They’ve expanded economies and overthrown monarchies. They’ve even helped nations avoid catastrophic wars. (They’ve sometimes enabled them, too.) When it comes to the secret world of espionage, it’s fair to say that facts are often better than fiction.

In the nine episodes of The Secret World of Espionage, shine a light into the shadowy world of spy craft with a distinguished panel of historians—including a former intelligence case officer—in search of the secret meeting places, complex codes, stealth observations, and cutting-edge technologies spies have used throughout history. How much does pop culture get wrong about espionage? What traits make for exceptional spies and possible double agents? What happens when intelligence operations fail? Learn why the answers are more intriguing than anything pop culture could come up with.

This program is on Zoom.  Registration required.  To register and to get the Zoom link, click here: