Title:                      Lamia

Author:                 Thyraud de Vosjoli

De Vosjoli, P. L. Thyraud (1970). Lamia. Boston: Little, Brown

LCCN:    70121424

UB271.F72 D4


Date Updated:  October 2, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

De Vosjoli was the liaison officer of the French intelligence service in Washington. Here he has given us a rare work-a book in English by an insider dealing with French intelligence and security in the post-World War II period. Lamia is all the more welcome for this and for one perspective of the problems of French security and the influences that beset French intelligence. Leon Uris wrote a fictionalized version of the events described in Lamia under the title Topaz[2]. Of De Vosjoli’s intelligence activities, those he relates dealing with Cuba are of strategic consequence and historical significance. However, there is no support or confirmation for his claims that intelligence he acquired and passed to CIA played an important role in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Reliable published accounts of the last twenty years make no mention of any such intelligence contribution. As for those portions wherein De Vosjoli identifies certain individuals as Soviet agents, it should be noted that since the publication of the book, there have been no official revelations or actions that lend credence to his particular charges or substantiate them.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

The memoirs of a French career intelligence officer who served in the French Resistance during World War II, and who was also the liaison officer of the French Intelligence Service (SDECE) in Washington at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The book gives some important insights into the French Intelligence Service. A fictionalized version of Lamia, under the title of Topaz[4], written by Leon Uris, preceded it and was made into a movie.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[5]

De Vosjoli, code name LAMIA, was at age nineteen an underground intelligence specialist during World War II. Later he was chief intelligence representative of General de Gaulle in Washington, and coordinator and liaison agent between French intelligence and the intelligence agencies of the NATO nations. He specialized in intelligence on Cuba, and passed information to the CIA confirming events which led to the Cuban missile crisis. A valuable book for its insights into intelligence operations, how information is procured by field agents, and actions taken by the opposition to frustrate information collection (counterespionage). De Vosjoli apparently furnished information to novelist Leon Uris who, on the basis of the information, wrote the best seller TOPAZ.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 163-164

[2] Uris, Leon (1967). Topaz. New York, McGraw-Hill

[3] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 70

[4] Uris, Leon (1967). Topaz. New York, McGraw-Hill

[5] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 27


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One Response to Lamia

  1. Pingback: Topaz | Intelligence Fiction

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