Shadow Warriors eBook cover $9.99 on Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Google Play

(cover by
Susan Erony)

The Shadow Warriors: O.S.S. and the Origins of the C.I.A. by Bradley F. Smith (224,000 words, 5 illustrations)

This is an account of the nation’s first intelligence agency, the Office of Special Services (O.S.S.) — how it operated, what it accomplished, and how it laid the basis for the present Central Intelligence Agency — and how its charismatic founder, “Wild Bill” Donovan, established control over it, recruited its staff, and, most importantly, sold Roosevelt, the armed services, the Allies, and the rest of the country on the agency’s varied — and often bizarre — shadow warfare missions during World War II. The O.S.S.’s special relationship with the British, the key role of academics and its embarrassing connection with the Soviets’ N.K.V.D. are also addressed. Smith concludes that the creation of the C.I.A. after the war owed less to the accomplishments of the O.S.S. than to Donovan’s public relations skills and the precarious military situation the country found itself in at the time.


“Mr. Smith... has done an exhaustive job of research on the O.S.S. and Donovan... the book offers an honest, lively portrait of an important American and the contributions, good and bad, that he and the O.S.S. made to the American intelligence system... Much of this book can be read for the pleasure of observing a genuine American character in action. Mr. Smith, who does not fawn on his subject, captures Donovan’s kinetic energy and vision.” — Philip Taubman,
The New York Times

“This may be as close to a definitive medium-length history of OSS as we are likely to get. It draws fully on the extensive original files now available (both American and British) and on the recent flood of secondary writing... The author has a sure grasp of the basic history of the war. His narrative chapters put OSS firmly into that wider context, and his perspectives and judgments ring true. And there are excellent chapters on the usually neglected Research and Analysis section and on the relations between OSS and Soviet intelligence agencies... an important book.” — William P. Bundy,
Foreign Affairs

“[A]lmost certainly the most balanced study to date of the ‘shadow’ or ‘irregular’ warfare that was the special province of OSS... Resting on an impressive amount of research into unpublished manuscript collections in both this country and Great Britain,
[The Shadow Warriors] is a convincing account, in large measure because its author retains a balance in his conclusions even as he does not hesitate to render firm judgments.” — Robert M. Hathaway, The Public Historian

“Bradley F. Smith has produced a carefully researched, lucid study of... the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)... Smith deserves recognition for writing the most comprehensive study to date on the origins of United States central intelligence.” — James F. Tent,
The Journal of American History

“Bradley Smith has undertaken a formidable task in writing this history of the Office of Strategic Services which is the most reliable record to date of its wide range of activities during the Second World War... an audacious book that is fascinating for its disclosures and entertaining to read.” — Dennis Deletant,
The Slavonic and East European Review

“Bradley Smith... credits the OSS with accomplishments in support of the military, but considers shadow warfare dangerously overvalued... The book is... humanly interesting at the same time that it addresses the very largest moral and military questions.” —
Kirkus

“It is unquestionably the best book I have read on the O.S.S. On every aspect of the O.S.S.’s history that I know at first hand it rings true.” —
H. Stuart Hughes, Professor of History, University of California, San Diego, Former Chief, Research and Analysis Branch, O.S.S. Mediterranean Theater

“By far the most insightful and generally significant book thus far produced about an intelligence agency that was in a number of ways unique in conception and functioning.” —
Harold C. Deutsch, Professor of Military History, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania

“A monumental, authoritative history of the O.S.S., head and shoulders above all other accounts.
The Shadow Warriors is an important, cautionary book that reads like a high-grade spy thriller. It will keep you turning pages far into the night.” — John Toland, author of Adolf Hitler, Rising Sun: Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire and Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath