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Wesley Britton’s Books, Interviews, and Media Appearances ~
Onscreen and Undercover – The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage

By Wesley Britton

Cover – The Encyclopedia of TV Spies

Praeger Publishers ~ October 30, 2006

Format ~ Hard-bound
Pages ~ 232, including photos
ISBN ~ 0-275-99281-0
Price ~ $44.95

Wes Britton’s Spy Television (Praeger Publishers, 2004) was just that – an overview of espionage on the small screen from 1951 to 2002.

His Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film (Praeger Publishers, 2005) wove spy literature, movies, radio, comics, and other popular media together with what the public knew about actual espionage to show the inter-relationships between genres and approaches in the past century.

Onscreen and Undercover, the final book intended in Dr. Britton’s “Spy Trilogy,” provides a history of spies on the large screen, with an emphasis on the stories these films present. Since the days of silent documentary shorts, spying has been a staple of the movie business. It has been the subject of thrillers, melodramas, political films, romances, and endless parodies as well.

But despite the developing mistrust of the spy as a figure of hope and good works, the variable relationship between real spying and screen spying over the past 100 years sheds a curious light on just how we live, what we fear, who we admire, and what we want our culture – and our world – to become.

This book describes now-forgotten trends, traces surprising themes, and spotlights the major contributions of directors, actors, and other American and English artists.

What’s in Onscreen and Undercover?

Forward and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 – When Spies Were Silent I: Leading Ladies and Victorian Melodramas (1898-1929)
Chapter 2 – When Spies Were Silent II: Leading Men, Propaganda, and Classic Directors Before 1929
Chapter 3 – Costumed Spies in Masks and Capes: Revolutionary Agents, the Civil War, and the Old West
Chapter 4 – The Transitional Decade: Espionage Films in the 1930s
Chapter 5 – Fighting Hitler and His Heirs: Film Nazis from the 1930s to 2005
Chapter 6 – From the Red Menace to Rogue Elephants: Cold War Duels from 1948 to 2005
Chapter 7 – Spies Like Us: Comedies in World War II, the Cold War, and Beyond
Chapter 8 – The Brotherhood of Bond I: The Larger-than-Life Spies (1960-1971)
Chapter 9 – The Brotherhood of Bond II: Spying on a Budget in the 1960s
Chapter 10 – The Brotherhood of Bond III: Heroes from the 1970s to the Present
Chapter 11 – Looking Back to See the Future: Trends for the Twenty-First Century

Chapter Notes
Works Cited

How to Get Onscreen and Undercover ~

Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage is available in bookstores everywhere, as well as these on-line merchants. To go to the order page, just click on the link.

Amazon U.S.
Amazon Canada
Amazon U.K.
Barnes & Noble