The Spook Who Sat by the Door

The Spook Who Sat by the Door, by Sam Greenlee, is the fictional story of Dan Freeman, the first black CIA officer, and of the CIA’s history of training persons and political groups who later used their specialized training in gathering intelligence, political subversion, and guerrilla warfare against the CIA. A classic in the black literary tradition, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is both a comment on the civil rights problems in the United States in the late 60s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy.

Dan Freeman, the “spook who sat by the door,” is enlisted in the CIA’s elitist espionage program. Upon mastering agency tactics, however, he drops out to train young Chicago blacks as “Freedom Fighters” in this explosive, award-winning novel.
As a story of one man’s reaction to ruling-class hypocrisy, the book is autobiographical and personal. As a tale of a man’s reaction to oppression, it is universal. A publication in the African American Life series.


first published






Overall Rating
7.9 /10
BIPOC Rating
7.9 /10
Inclusion Rating
7.9 /10
Values Rating
7.9 /10
Critical Thinking Rating
7.9 /10
Parenting Rating
7.9 /10
{{ reviewsTotal }} Review
{{ reviewsTotal }} Reviews
{{ options.labels.newReviewButton }}
{{ userData.canReview.message }}

your modern library analysis

Reviewed by:

from YM,  just for your information, if you are like me, you might not have known that “Spook” is an outdated, offensive term that was used similarly to the N-word…

Product Additional Information

Book brought to you by:

No more offers for this product!

Shipping Policy


Refund Policy


Cancellation / Return / Exchange Policy


General Inquiries

There are no inquiries yet.

about the author

Sam Greenlee
Sam Greenlee was a writer.

Over the course of his career, Sam Greenlee has been a novelist, poet, screenwriter, journalist, teacher, and talk show host. Born in Chicago on July 13, 1930, he attended Chicago public schools. At age fifteen, Greenlee participated in his first sit-in and walked in his first picket line. His social activism continues to this day.

Greenlee's first and most well known novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, was published in 1968. This prize-winning novel quickly became an underground favorite for its fictionalization of an urban-based war for African American liberation. Greenlee co-wrote a screenplay adaptation of the novel, and in 1973 The Spook Who Sat by the Door was released on film. The film was an overnight success when it was released and was then unexpectedly taken out of distribution.

Greenlee has written numerous novels, stage plays, screenplays, poems. He recently moved back to Chicago after several years of voluntary exile in Spain and West Africa and is currently hosting a radio talk show program.

Sam Greenlee passed away on May 19, 2014.



additional resources:

Featured Collections


Character Building / Values

media we think you'll love

related products

Products not found