Monday, June 16, 2014

Maybe it's not a beach read, but it is excellent: The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, by Kai Bird

Crown, 2014
448 pp

arc from the publisher, thank you!

So, okay, it's definitely not a beach read, but since I'm into history and the publisher mailed me this book a while back, I've just finished Pulitzer-prize winner Kai Bird's The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames.  I'd never heard of Robert Ames before, but now I'll never forget him.

Ames' life and work as a CIA agent and then Intelligence Officer in the Middle East, as well as the glimpses behind the scenes at politics and policymaking are all very well portrayed here, and there may be some small merit in the author's thesis that when Ames was killed in the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, a sizeable chance for peace in the Middle East died along with him. He had the both the ear and the confidence of formidable players there,  he worked tirelessly to help put out flames before they became raging fires, and gave up much of his family life in the interests of peace.  A Good Spy is a most excellent read, and it is definitely a book  that  a)I'll never forget b) I urge everyone who has an interest in trying to understand the current situation in Middle East to get a copy of and c) has definitely spurred my interest in further reading.  
I've made a longer post at the nonfiction page of this reading journal; the link is here.  I'm still in a little shock after having finished this book. Well worth every second.

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