Liza Mundy, a New York Times bestselling author, will present a book talk and signing, 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St.
Joining Mundy will be Santa Barbaran Heidi August, one of the subjects of Mundy’s new book “The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA.”
In “The Sisterhood,” Mundy, the acclaimed author of “Code Girls,” returns with a revelatory history of three generations at the CIA — the women who fought to become operatives, transformed spycraft, and tracked down Osama bin Laden.
Created in the aftermath of World War II, the Central Intelligence Agency relied on women even as it attempted to channel their talents and keep them down. Women sent cables, made dead drops, and maintained the agency’s secrets.
Despite discrimination, even because of it, women who started as clerks, secretaries, or unpaid spouses rose to become some of the CIA’s shrewdest operatives. They were unlikely spies, which is what made them perfect for the role.
Because women were seen as unimportant, pioneering female intelligence officers moved unnoticed around Bonn, Geneva, and Moscow, stealing secrets from under the noses of their KGB adversaries.
Back at headquarters, women built the CIA’s critical archives, first by hand, then by computer. And they noticed things the men at the top didn’t see.
As the CIA faced an identity crisis after the Cold War, it was a close-knit network of female analysts who spotted the rising threat of al-Qaeda, though their warnings were repeatedly brushed aside.
“The Sisterhood” offers a new perspective on history, revealing how women at the CIA ushered in the modern intelligence age, and how their silencing made the world more dangerous.
Mundy is an award-winning journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of four books. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, Mundy writes for The Atlantic, Politico, and Smithsonian Magazine.