The Good Spy

The Good Spy

The Life and Death of Robert Ames

Audiobook CD - 2014
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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.
Publisher: New York : Random House Audio : Books on Tape, p2014
Edition: Unabridged ed
ISBN: 9780804166478
Branch Call Number: CDA 327.1273 BIR
Characteristics: 12 sound discs (ca. 15 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Ruiz, René


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Feb 20, 2018

Finally, a book that speaks matter of factly regarding the Middle East mess and the profoundly negative impact Israeli policy and actions have had on the area as well as on the image of the United States. A must read for all Americans and our politicians.

Dec 14, 2016

Maybe my rating of 1 star is unfair, but this audio book is 12 CDs long, and try as I might I couldn't make it more than 1/2 way through the second CD. The author was far, far, too fawning on Robert Ames, and I though if he makes once more reference to his size, I am returning this audio book to the library. We, he did, and that was it. I also didn't care to know the exact date and time of his marriage, the exact dates he went to high school, ect, ect. So, maybe this book got better, I just couldn't stand the hero worship.

Nov 11, 2015

This definitely detailed & by an author that may not take an unbiased view, nevertheless it explains much of policy in ME. My cautionary approach & questioning is that Ames came up through the policies set by the early crowd...Dulles brothers, Colby, etc. They set in place disastrous foreign policy we are paying for yet today. IMO. After reading The Brothers by Kinzer I felt the US was badly served. Very good reader.

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