Please note: the website hasn’t been updated in several years. We’ll be doing updates soon in order to announce two new books coming out at the end of the year:

  1. Espionage for MIT’s Essential Knowledge Series
  2. Nothing is Beyond our Reach: America’s Techno-Spy Empire for Georgetown University Press.

Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, check: https://hsoc.gatech.edu/people/person/kristie-macrakis


For readers interested in the popular magazine articles, I’m listing some of the clips here for easy access:

*The Case of Agent Gorbachev article (this is my favorite :)) see (need to scroll down): Gorbachev

*Newsweek piece about the 1985 Year of the Spy. My title was: “The Last Spies Let out in the Cold”– the only thing Newsweek changed:  http://www.newsweek.com/cold-war-over-spying-continues-399566

*Newsweek piece about recent “Enhanced Interrogation” compared with mind control in the 1950s: http://www.newsweek.com/getting-whole-truth-about-americas-torture-terrorists-662034

* Nature article about how the Stasi stole scientific secrets but then the system imploded along with the technology:NATURE Essay

*The five articles in Like the Dew about Clark Rockefeller Unmasked, Drugs and Guns in Georgia, and the Six Churches, Six Miles series: http://likethedew.com/author/kmacrakis/#.WylqDy-ZPOQ

Interesting links about the invisible ink book:


Named one of the “BEST BOOKS OF 2014” by Kirkus Reviews!!!Thrilled!: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kristie-macrakis/prisoners-lovers-spies/

Named “Book of the Week” by the Daily Mail, UK, “gripping.”


In case you missed the C-SPAN Book TV show, you can watch it here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?320001-1/book-discussion-prisoners-lovers-spies

New nice review in The Spectator: “entertaining stories told by the American academic Kristie Macrakis in her beguilingly informative and sweeping survey of hidden communication”

For more reviews of the invisible ink book click on the reviews tab: http://kristiemacrakis.com/prisoners-lovers-spies/reviews . For a list of the radio and TV interviews, click the events tab: http://kristiemacrakis.com/events

Seduced by Secrets just came out in paperback with a new preface comparing the NSA to the Stasi: http://www.amazon.com/Seduced-Secrets-Inside-Stasis-Spy-Tech/dp/1591141834/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1

CONTEST: There is a prize of $ 200 for anyone who can get the egg writing procedure to work. Readers must provide us with a short you tube video and it must be reproducible.

“an immensely diverting overview of secret and hidden writing.” The Independent, UK

“An utterly fascinating account . . . the author knows her territory. Read this book.”—Joseph C. Goulden, The Washington Times

“her enthusiasm and appetite for her subject are infectious.” Alan Judd, Literary Review

Wonderful Kirkus Book Review:”lively history…engaging prose..engrossing” https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kristie-macrakis/prisoners-lovers-spies

Invited Radio Interviews:

*Science Friday with Ira Flatow,Public Radio International

* WNYC, The Takeaway with John Hockenberry: http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/history-invisible-ink/

* PRI, The World with Clark Boyd: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-04-29/how-one-author-came-write-history-invisible-ink

*KERA, Think with Krys Boyd: http://www.kera.org/2014/04/28/for-your-eyes-only

* Newstalk, Moncreiff Show, Ireland: http://www.newstalk.ie/player/listen_back/8/10161/27th_May_2014_-_Moncrieff_Part_2

For upcoming radio interviews, check the events page

For Boston Globe article see:

*For the new, May 2014 article on “The Hidden Past of Invisible Ink” see American Scientist— available at newsstands and online:http://www.americanscientist.org

* Kirkus Reviews article: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/kristie-macrakis
* Mental Floss article: http://mentalfloss.com/article/55195/11-historical-uses-invisible-ink

*For an excerpt from Scientific American: How Chemists Revealed WW I Secret Writing: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/invisible-ink-history-wwi

For Daren Wang segment in advance of Carter Library event, see: http://wabe.org/post/books-daren-wang-27

Sorry, haven’t updated the website for a long time. Here is some new news: The TV-Film on Stasi technology for which I was historical advisor and interviewee will air on 3 November 2015: http://www.mdr.de/tv/programm/sendung594228.html

It is based on the Stasi book Seduced by Secrets. I think they did a wonderful job with the images and filming.

See More Videos Here

Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies is the first history of invisible ink and secret communications revealed in thrilling stories about scoundrels and heroes and their ingenious methods for concealing messages.

From the piazzas of ancient Rome to the spy capitals of the Cold War, Macrakis’s global history reveals the drama and importance of invisible ink. Including the likes of Ovid’s advice to use milk for illicit love notes, to George Washington’s use of “sympathetic stain” to help him win the Revolutionary War, to German spies who secreted ink in a tooth or a scarf , to al‑Qaeda’s hidden instructions in pornographic movies, this book presents fascinating stories of secret messaging that chart its evolution in sophistication and its impact on history.

Spies were imprisoned or murdered, adultery unmasked, and battles lost because of faulty or intercepted secret communications. Yet, successfully hidden writing helped save lives, win battles, and ensure privacy; occasionally it even changed the course of history.

In unearthing the history of hidden communications, author Kristie Macrakis combines a storyteller’s sense of drama with a historian’s respect for evidence. Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies is a page‑turning history of intrigue and espionage, love and war, magic and secrecy for anyone with an interest in learning more about the art of secret messaging.

For the first time, Macrakis also reveals spy agencies’ most closely guarded communication secrets using newly declassified materials. In addition, the book includes fun kitchen chemistry recipes the reader can try out at home.


Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies is also available from the following retailers: