The Making of a Spy

Memoir of a German Boy Soldier Turned American Army Intelligence Agent


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SKU: 9780786448548 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Leaving the chaos of postwar Germany for an uncertain future, 17-year-old Gerhardt Thamm arrived in America in 1948 with little more than his American birth certificate. With minimal command of English and little formal education, he enlisted in the Army and quickly found himself assigned to operations where his German language abilities were put to use. With the Soviet Union’s emergence as a potential adversary, Thamm was recruited into the Army’s clandestine services, where he operated as a secret agent in Germany, under multiple identities. This richly detailed personal narrative tells Thamm’s incredible story (with more than two dozen photographs and sketches).

About the Author(s)

Gerhardt B. Thamm retired in 1987 after serving more than 38 years in intelligence and security-related operations. He has written for the Armed Forces Journal International, Periscope, Golden Sphinx, The Voice of Intelligence and Naval Proceedings. In 1994 the CIA specially honored Gerhardt for a report which was recently declassified and published in Naval Intelligence Professional Quarterly. He now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Gerhardt B. Thamm
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 231
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4854-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5564-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
A Man for All Seasons      1
Words of Wisdom      3
A Note About Names      5
Prologue—A Man Called Trenker      7

Scared as Hell      11
Riding the Rollercoaster      13
Boy Soldier      15
Strangers in Our Own Land      18
Life in Post–World War II Germany      23
Black Market Days      31
America at Last      35
You’re in the Army Now…      40
War—Once again      51
Assignment: The U.S. Army General School      57
Germany, Here I Come      63
Something Special      72
The Visit      75
Every Man Has a Price      78
Tattered Cloak and Rusty Dagger      87
Doktor Hermann and Georg Trenker      104
The Transformation      115
Special Operations Team Number Three (SpecOps 3)      120
Special Tasks—German Automobile License Plates      121
Special Tasks—The Proprietary      126
Special Tasks—The Proprietary 2      130
Nosy Old Lady      133
Close Call      136
Special Tasks—The Proprietary 3      143
On the Streets of Berlin      146
Not Quite According to the Rules      152
Ceramics?      154
Problem in the Floor Wax Business      158
Contact Lost      162
Code Name “The Shepherd”      164
Another Busy Day in Berlin      173
Reorganization: The New Boss      180
Wasted Effort      186
The Last Christmas in Silesia      194
New Task—Build a Bolthole      195
Life Is a Gamble      197
End of Tour of Duty      200
Trust, and the Bad Apple      201
Order, Counterorder      205
The Later Years      210

Postscript      212
Notes      215
Index      219

Book Reviews & Awards

“a compelling personal story…the strength of the book lies in his descriptions of the training, tradecraft, and agent-control techniques he developed in the field”—The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies.