Archaeologists and espionage during WWII
“Classical Spies will be a lasting contribution to the discipline and will stimulate further research. Susan Heuck Allen presents to a wide readership a topic of interest that is important and has been neglected.”
—William M. Calder III, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Classical Spies is the first insiders’ account of the operations of the American intelligence service in World War II Greece. Initiated by archaeologists in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, the network drew on scholars’ personal contacts and knowledge of languages and terrain. While modern readers might think Indiana Jones is just a fantasy character, Classical Spies discloses events where even Indy would feel at home: burying Athenian dig records in an Egyptian tomb, activating prep-school connections to establish spies code-named Vulture and Chickadee, and organizing parachute drops.
Susan Heuck Allen reveals remarkable details about a remarkable group of individuals. Often mistaken for mild-mannered professors and scholars, such archaeologists as University of Pennsylvania’s Rodney Young, Cincinnati’s Jack Caskey and Carl Blegen, Yale’s Jerry Sperling and Dorothy Cox, and Bryn Mawr’s Virginia Grace proved their mettle as effective spies in an intriguing game of cat and mouse with their Nazi counterparts. Relying on interviews with individuals sharing their stories for the first time, previously unpublished secret documents, private diaries and letters, and personal photographs, Classical Spies offers an exciting and personal perspective on the history of World War II.
An experienced archaeologist and author of many books and articles, including a volume on Frank Calvert’s discovery of Troy, Susan Heuck Allen has taught at Yale University and Smith College and is currently Visiting Scholar in the Department of Classics, Brown University.
"...Susan Allen's book provides a fascinating insight into the wartime activities and intrigues of some of America's most distinguished archaeologists, and is a welcome addition to the more general history of Greece under occupation."
--Richard Clogg, Times Literary Supplement
"...Susan Allen's book provides a fascinating insight into the wartime activities and intrigues of some of America's most distinguished archaeologists, and is a welcome addition to the more general history of Greece under occupation."- Richard Clogg
—Richard Clogg, Times Literary Supplement
"[Classical Spies] illuminates an important aspect of our contemporary history that was almost unknown, at least to the general public."- Anastasis Vistonitis
—Anastasis Vistonitis, To Vima
"The newest book from archaeologist Susan Heuck Allen, Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece…is itself likely to become a classic."- John Leonard
—John Leonard, Athens News