Strangest Book of the Week #23 – OSS Sabotage & Demolition Manual

Declassified spy guide originally compiled during the second world war…

OSS Sabotage & Demolition Manual

Paladin Press. No date given, Amazon lists a publication date of 1973.

The auction ends in two days, August 3rd, and while there are currently no bidders, there are a handful of watchers… Find it here.

I had been aware of the CIA declassified manual Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Read more about that over on That was originally published in 1944, and declassified in 2008. You can actually read the entire volume in PDF form through the CIA website. From what I understand, this covers techniques of undermining an organization; the psychological ways you can screw productivity and so forth.

The sabotage and demolition manual, however…

This one is straight-up bad-ass resistance guerrilla tactics and methods of making explosives. I feel kinda funny making it available. Interesting thing about this copy is that it does have pencil underlining and a few notes in the front section. So… it was put to practical use by the previous owner? Otherwise it’s clean and in great condition. The book may be declassified, but I can’t find it online as public domain like Simple Sabotage.

The OSS, or Office of Strategic Services, was the precursor to the CIA and was active from 1942-1945. The CIA formed in 1947. As an aside, Julia Child of Mastering The Art of French Cooking worked for the OSS.

From wikipedia:

Child was asked to solve the problem of too many OSS underwater explosives being set off by curious sharks, “[her] solution was to experiment with cooking various concoctions as a shark repellent,” which were sprinkled in the water near the explosives and repelled sharks. Still in use today, the experimental shark repellent “marked Child’s first foray into the world of cooking…”

But more generally on the OSS:

The OSS was formed as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Other OSS functions included the use of propaganda, subversion, and post-war planning. … One of the greatest accomplishments of the OSS during World War II was its penetration of Nazi Germany by OSS operatives. The OSS was responsible for training German and Austrian individuals for missions inside Germany. Some of these agents included exiled communists and Socialist party members, labor activists, anti-Nazi prisoners-of-war, and German and Jewish refugees. The OSS also recruited and ran one of the war’s most important spies, the German diplomat Fritz Kolbe.

Anyway, make sure to jump over to eBay and see the listing! Like I said the auction is ending in a couple days, and I would be surprised if no one made a bid in that time. If you’re a historical fiction author, or write thrillers, espionage, or general mystery, this book could also provide some inspiration and information for the technical bits!

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