If it were possible to take the most comprehensive history of the Office of Strategic Services (the "OSS") and then abstract it so that the most important information was concentrated into a brief sixty-four page volume, you would have a very valuable reference tool. Fortunately, Eugene Liptak, with the help of illustrator Richard Hook, has given us just such a resource in Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945: The World War II Origins of the CIA (Osprey Publishing Ltd, 2009; 64 pages). The OSS initially grew out of concepts that William J. Donovan developed when he visited Great Britain in 1940 and observed England's clandestine services -- the SOE (Special Operations Executive) and the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service). Although the OSS was preceded by secret intelligence organizations in the early days of the war, the OSS was the first cohesive "spy" organization established by Executive Order. President Roosevelt created the OSS in June of 1942 under the jurisdiction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and it continued until President Truman dissolved it shortly after the end of WWII. In Office of Strategic Services, Liptak presents a wonderfully thorough overview of each element of the OSS, including (i) Secret Intelligence, which gathered and reported military intelligence from operational areas by unorthodox means, (ii) Special Operations, which engaged in unorthodox warfare such as sabotage and the training of local guerilla organizations, (iii) Morale Operation, which spread lies and propaganda via radio and printed publications aimed at destroying enemy morale, (iv) X-2, which dealt with counterespionage, (v) Research and Analysis, which employed leading academics to study and analyze local areas of operations, and several other operational groups Although the details of specific actions by individuals and groups within OSS are limited, Liptak offers sufficient explanations and examples to give his readers a thorough grounding in the purpose and operations of the organization. After explaining the elements of the OSS, Liptak offers a brief overview of OSS operations in each of the theaters of operation during WWII. Again, given the nature of his book, he does not offer abundant detail regarding local operations but he does provide ample information to allow readers to understand the nature of OSS operations. Hook's illustrations are wonderful and add an additional layer of detail to Liptak's research. On the whole, Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945: The World War II Origins of the CIA is an excellent reference resource for any student of the CIA or WWII who is not familiar with the early days of the United States spy program. Students who already know the basics of OSS history during WWII may not find much new material here, but for everyone else, Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945: The World War II Origins of the CIA is a great research volume for any library.