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Book Review: Disguises

Charles C. Thomas Publishers;; 226 pages; $38.95. 


The high cost of manpower and the decreasing cost of high-quality surveillance cameras have reduced the need for conducting the kind of covert surveillance operations that require investigators to disguise their appearance. That said, security professionals who need to change their appearance for such operations may need guidance in this area. Undercover Disguise Methods for Investigators explains all kinds of disguises from the simplest to the most elaborate. 

Written in a concise and logical fashion, the text is easy to read, and the illustrations are useful. The contents of the book, including photographs and references, are based upon information that has been available for quite some time. The authors readily acknowledge their sources, and they gather this information into a compact, convenient reference. 

The book begins with a history of disguise and moves on to discuss aspects of perception, including peripheral vision, motionless people, whitewash areas, and the effectiveness of what the human eye captures. This information is well explained and would be of benefit to any security practitioner who is charged with observing people or places. 

Interwoven within various chapters are ideas and situational encounters that could be useful to the undercover investigator. Although the book doesn’t offer innovation, it accurately depicts disguise methods that could be employed by law enforcement as well as security practitioners who occasionally need to disguise themselves. 


Reviewer: James E. Whitaker, CPP, PCI, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), has more than 40 years of experience in law enforcement, management, training, and private sector investigations. He serves on the ASIS Investigations Council and the PCI Review Committee. Whitaker has also served on the Board of Regents for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.