The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA (Hardcover)

The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA By Liza Mundy Cover Image

The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA (Hardcover)


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A “rip-roaring” (Steve Coll), “staggeringly well-researched” (The New York Times) history of three generations at the CIA, “electric with revelations” (Booklist) about the women who fought to become operatives, transformed spycraft, and tracked down Osama bin Laden, from the bestselling author of Code Girls


In development as a series from Lionsgate Television, executive produced by Scott Delman (Station Eleven)

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—and that’s exactly 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 that 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.

After the 9/11 attacks, more women joined the agency as a new job, targeter, came to prominence. They showed that data analysis would be crucial to the post-9/11 national security landscape—an effort that culminated spectacularly in the CIA’s successful effort to track down bin Laden in his Pakistani compound.

Propelled by the same meticulous reporting and vivid storytelling that infused Code Girls, The Sisterhood offers a riveting 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
Liza Mundy is an award-winning journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of four books, including Code Girls. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, Mundy writes for The Atlantic, Politico, and Smithsonian Magazine, among other publications.

Product Details ISBN: 9780593238172
ISBN-10: 0593238176
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 480
Language: English
“Based on more than 100 interviews, published histories, academic articles, declassified documents and personal writings, The Sisterhood is a deeply researched, exhaustive read spanning seven decades of CIA history.”Smithsonian

“Liza Mundy recognizes how rescuing stories from the past can illuminate bias and abuse, and she does so in her latest book. . . . The Sisterhood offers a different and valuable inside look at an agency that has long fascinated American culture.”—Washington Post
“Staggeringly well-researched . . . Mundy, who has written four other books, including the similarly sweeping Code Girls, delivers suspenseful stories of women like Heidi August, a onetime clerk who went on to spend three decades in the C.I.A. and became one of its first female station chiefs; and Lisa Manfull Harper, who worked menial jobs for a decade before being permitted to complete certification as a sleuth.”The New York Times
“[This] well-written history provides remarkable insightsinto the Central Intelligence Agency’s agencies successes and failures as well as pertinent advice about how to keep American institutions strong. Mundy comes to the subject with experience and skill.”—Margaret Coker, The Current
[The Sisterhood] touched me in ways I did not expect. . . . [A] deeply researched and highly readable book . . . Compelling.”—Valerie Plame, Foreign Policy

“A rip-roaring read about spycraft and the CIA’s inner workings . . . an inspiring group portrait of extraordinary CIA women whose careers are multisided profiles in courage.”—Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Ghost Wars

“An indispensable history, untold until now, The Sisterhood has stellar reporting, sparkling writing, and shocking revelations of power struggles inside the world’s most famous secret intelligence service.”—Tim Weiner, National Book Award–winning author of Legacy of Ashes

“A must-read for anyone interested in national security, secrets, and the CIA.”—Annie Jacobsen, bestselling author of Surprise, Kill, Vanish

“Liza Mundy is a prodigious reporter and a wonderful writer who has uncovered the stories of the female spies and analysts who helped make the CIA what it is today.”—Peter Bergen, bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden

“Every page is electric with revelations as Mundy vividly and perceptively portrays the remarkable women who covertly elevated this complicated, controversial, yet essential government agency.”Booklist (starred review)

“Another winner from Mundy, who tells a story that deserves to be told about women who deserve to be remembered.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)