If one were to take a poll asking which of the world’s intelligence agencies would make the top-10 list, most, if not all respondents would include Israel’s HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim—the Israeli Mossad. Shrouded in mystery, much of what is known about the Mossad is based on speculation and the occasional news story. But every once in a while, a book comes along that sheds some light on the agency.

I recently had the chance to read Mossad, written by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal, and this book certainly helps to lift the shroud from a historical perspective. While it does little to reveal Mossad’s modern techniques and tactics (as well it shouldn’t), it is full of stories of Mossad missions, both successes and failures, from its inception through today.

The book is of a good size, totaling 339 pages plus bibliographies and sources. It also contains some photos to go with many of the stories. Published in 2012, the book’s introduction briefly touches on the November 12, 2011 destruction of a secret long-range missile base outside of Tehran, Iran. Killed in the explosion was General Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the so-called “father of the infamous Shebab long-range missile.” But according to the authors, the real target was a solid-fuel rocket, able to carry a payload more than 6,000 miles.

Bar-Zohar and Mishal used extensive research and interviews to give life to the stories, and in my opinion that sets it apart from other books. In one story, the authors interviewed Ze’ev Avni. Avni was a career diplomat who claimed to want to be a Mossad agent so badly that he demanded and received a meeting with the Mossad chief at the time, Isser Harel.