Osprey's elite series title for the origins of the CIA during World War II (1939-1945). The Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, was founded in 1942 by William 'Wild Bill' Donovan under the direction of President Roosevelt, who realized the need to improve intelligence during wartime. A rigorous recruitment process enlisted agents from both the armed services and civilians to produce operational groups specializing in different foreign areas including Italy, Norway, Yugoslavia and China. At its peak in 1944, the number of men and women working in the service totaled nearly 13,500.
This intriguing story of the origins and development of the American espionage forces covers all of the different departments involved, with a particular emphasis on the courageous teams operating in the field. The volume is illustrated with many photographs, including images from the film director John Ford who led the OSS Photographic Unit and parachuted into Burma in 1943.