The Good Spy is Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird's compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history - a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West.
On April 18, 1983, a bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. The attack was a geopolitical turning point. It marked the beginning of Hezbollah as a political force, but even more important, it eliminated America's most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East - CIA operative Robert Ames. What set Ames apart from his peers was his extraordinary ability to form deep, meaningful connections with key Arab intelligence figures. Some operatives relied on threats and subterfuge, but Ames worked by building friendships and emphasizing shared values - never more notably than with Yasir Arafat's charismatic intelligence chief and heir apparent Ali Hassan Salameh (aka "The Red Prince"). Ames' deepening relationship with Salameh held the potential for a lasting peace. Within a few years, though, both men were killed by assassins, and America's relations with the Arab world began heading down a path that culminated in 9/11, the War on Terror, and the current fog of mistrust.
Bird, who as a child lived in the Beirut Embassy and knew Ames as a neighbor when he was twelve years old, spent years researching The Good Spy. Not only does the book draw on hours of interviews with Ames' widow, and quotes from hundreds of Ames' private letters, it's woven from interviews with scores of current and former American, Israeli, and Palestinian intelligence officers as well as other players in the Middle East "Great Game."
What emerges is a masterpiece-level narrative of the making of a CIA officer, a uniquely insightful history of twentieth-century conflict in the Middle East, and an absorbing hour-by-hour account of the Beirut Embassy bombing. Even more impressive, Bird draws on his reporter's skills to deliver a full dossier on the bombers and expose the shocking truth of where the attack's mastermind resides today.
"New York Times" Bestseller "New York Times Book Review "Editor's Choice "A rich nuanced portrait of a man who, in the CIA's term, had "a high tolerance for ambiguity...One of the best accounts we have of how espionage really works."--Mark Mazzetti, "The New York Times Book Review" "Cool and authoritative...The book's understated pleasures come from reading a pro writing about a pro. Mr. Bird has a dry style; watching him compose a book is like watching a robin build a nest. Twig is entwined with twig until a sturdy edifice is constructed. No flourishes are required .... Mr. Bird's style is ideal for his subject." --Dwight Garner, "The New York Times ""A well-researched, engagingly presented biography..."The Good Spy" is a fascinating book that sheds much-needed light on one of the murkier corners of CIA--and Middle Eastern--history."--Max Boot, "Wall Street Journal""Full of great morsels and details... Bird has found in Ames a wonderful new subject.... "The Good Spy" succeeds on the basis of Bird's considerable research skills, his interviews with intelligence officials, his access to Ames's letters home and, above all, his ability to spot and put together an engrossing biography."-"Washington Post" "Bird captures the acrid taste of regional politics and offers a perceptive portrayal of the internal workings and interplay of personalities within the CIA at the time...An enthralling read."-"Houston Chronicle""With its pacy narrative, exotic locales and colourful cast of CIA and Mossad agents, Palestinian and Iranian revolutionaries, Lebanese operators and even a winner of the Miss Universe contest, the book has all the ingredients of a first-class thriller. Kai Bird writes well enough to be a novelist, too, but his sentences have the additional virtue of being true." -"Times Literary Supplement""In his riveting, illuminating account of Ames' life and ultimate death in the 1983 embassy
Format: Audio CD
Published: 20th May 2014
Dimensions (cm): 15.0 x 13.0 x 3.3
Weight (kg): 0.32