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The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames par [Bird, Kai]
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The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames Format Kindle

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Longueur : 448 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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Description du produit

Revue de presse

New York Times Bestseller

A Washington Post Notable Book

A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book, 2014

New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

Entertainment Weekly's Best Spy Book of 2014

A Daily Beast Best Biography of 2014

An Apple Top 10 Biography of 2014

“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

 “[Bird] spent years researching this terrific biography of one of America’s most important covert operatives. It was worth every minute.”
–Seattle Times

“Engrossing…This absorbing book suggests that even the best of intentions, and the best of spies, aren’t enough to bridge the chasms in the Middle East.”
—Los Angeles Times

Riveting…[Bird] relates fascinating details (drawn from interviews with some 30 retired CIA and Mossad officers) about the culture and practices of the agency, including the life-and-death implications of designating an individual as either a ‘source,’ a ‘recruit’ or an ‘asset.’”
San Francisco Gate

“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 bombing in Beirut, Bird pulls back the thick black curtain on the world of clandestine intelligence affairs — a world that turns out to be more blazer-and-pen than cloak-and-dagger, though no less engrossing — to tell the story of one individual's good work in a not-so-good system. A
Entertainment Weekly

“One of the best nonfiction books ever written about the West’s involvement in the Arab world.”
—The Spectator (UK)

“All of this is engrossing for those fascinated by the machinations of the people and politics of the Middle East…But this book should appeal to a wider audience. It underlines the need for intelligence-gathering by humans as well as by machines, and illustrates the gap between spying and policy.”
The Economist

One of 2014's best books so far. “A lucid, thorough, fascinating biography.”

“It is a reflection of the drama of this patch of history as well as Bird’s skill in rendering it that the book is as compelling a read as most spy novels.”
National Interest

Kai Bird has written a riveting biography… This intriguing book shares many exciting exploits of Ames’ life as a spy, but most captivating was his poignant relationship with Ali Hassan Salameh.”
–Jewish Journal (Massachusetts)

“Painstakingly researched...In addition to being an admiring biography of a uniquely gifted CIA operative, The Good Spy reminds us of those long-ago days when some sort of resolution was considered even a remote possibility.”
Highbrow Magazine

“More exciting than le Carré’s George Smiley or Fleming’s James Bond, Bird recreates the life of CIA superspy Robert Ames… Bird’s meticulous account of Ames’s career amid an ongoing Mideast climate of caution and suspicion is one of the best books on the American intelligence community.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“A moving biography within a balanced presentation of the complex diplomacy over the Palestinian quest for statehood and Israeli need for security.”
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
 “A poignant tribute to a CIA Middle East operative who helped get the Palestinians and Israelis to talk to each other—and died for it.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Kai Bird has produced a compelling and complex narrative that must be read on many levels—including as a detailed account of the immense influence that a truly good man can have on an agency as cynical as the CIA, and as a reminder of a myriad of losses.  Robert Ames did not live long enough to get what he most desperately wanted—a real peace in the Middle East.  And America's intelligence agencies no longer seem as welcoming to agents with the wisdom, vision and integrity that Ames exemplified.”
—Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Price of Power, The Dark Side of Camelot, and Chain of Command

“Kai Bird has delivered two miracles—the best day-by-day account of a secret intelligence career in the CIA, and the best book about the murderous intelligence war between Israel and her enemies with America smack in the middle.  For years Robert Ames—The Good Spy—tried to nudge both sides toward peace until he picked the wrong day to visit the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and was killed by a car bomb. Bird has written a powerful and revealing story that leaves the reader with a troubling question—how did America get trapped in this war it can do nothing to end?”
—Thomas Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Intelligence Wars and The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA
“The Good Spy gives us the CIA up close and personal—the intricate dance of recruiting ‘assets,’ the bureaucratic maneuverings, the family compromises.  But because Ames was a Mideast specialist his biography also becomes a knowing history of that region's political failures and relentless descent into violence.  Well reported, even-handed, compelling reading -- one of the best books ever written about the CIA.”
—Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author of Los Alamos and The Good German

"Beautifully written and researched, The Good Spy is the best book I've ever read on espionage. It perfectly captures the CIA at its best. What's more, it's a book you can't put down, right to its tragic end. I need to add this: while Bob Ames's career and mine crossed paths over the years, it's Kai Bird who has finally put the story together for me. Reading this, I wondered at times if Kai somehow pulled off a black bag operation to get into the Agency archives."
—Robert Baer, former CIA operative and New York Times bestselling author of See No Evil
“Kai Bird has unearthed an astonishing amount of detail about Robert Ames, the CIA, and U.S. spy operations in the Middle East. His book could not be more timely in showing us the perils and advantages of clandestine actions in the name of national security. The Good Spy gives new meaning to the adage that truth can be stranger than fiction.”
—Robert Dallek, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963
"If John le Carré were a nonfiction specialist, he surely would feel the lure of writing the story that is at the heart of The Good Spy.  Kai Bird works the seam between history and espionage.  He has produced an arresting book—one that is knowing, and masterful in its rendition of a time when the United States cast a huge shadow across the Arab world.  Robert Ames, the spy in Kai Bird's title, is a figure of unusual poignancy because his guile and innocence run side by side.”
—Fouad Ajami, Senior Fellow at The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of The Syrian Rebellion

From the Hardcover edition.

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 7960 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 448 pages
  • Editeur : Crown (20 mai 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00GVZN320
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.3 étoiles sur 5 295 commentaires
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating journey into the bowels of 'intelligence' world 15 avril 2017
Par AxeMan - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
At this moment in time it's good to go back to the early days of the Middle East crisis. It also makes it more complicated when you get to see the so called human side of what makes for a good spy. There is no objective truth. The people who spend their lives wallowing in this dark arena have no perfect handle on any more than slivers of several barely partial truths, and Bird brings them all to life and death. He makes the most of the little we can know. It's a book to read slowly, unlike the novels that cover the same territory. The bottom line is, Trust no one, but hope that good journalism like this can keep our heads slightly above water. This is not a stylish book, but it is really well written and never clunky or hackneyed.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very enjoyable read; highly recommended 17 avril 2017
Par Augedog999 - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I definitely enjoyed this book. I found it intriguing. I wish more "secret" info could have been given; I mean at times we know Ames is having meetings and other clandestine operations but few details are given other than the fact the meeting occurred.

Sadly it is affirmed through this book that the media reports what an administration wants the public to know, while in actuality something opposite the report is occurring. In some sense I understand it, but in another sense, you wish we could get truth! Thankfully there are books like the Bible that give us truth.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An absorbing and well-researched tale 12 décembre 2014
Par exurbanite - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The title “The Good Spy”, a biography of Robert Ames, a prominent CIA officer who died in the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut in 1983, holds within it a certain ambiguity. Whether the author intended it to be so is not clear. Does it mean that Ames was a kindly and decent man? Or is it meant to suggest that he was a competent member of his profession?

Either interpretation or both are possible. Ames, at least from the account presented in this book, was a devoted and loyal family man who cared deeply for his wife and six children. He was also a highly successful CIA officer, one who rose from obscurity to senior and influential positions with exceptional rapidity.

As is usually the case, Ames’s fast rise was a combination of ambition, hard work, talent, and luck. His specialty was the Middle East. He read a great deal, learned Arabic, and became intimately familiar with the cultural and historical background of the area. He was also a tough and clever functionary. At least one of his colleagues called him a “throat cutter and back stabber”. He impressed, and became an advisor to, CIA chieftains Richard Helms and William Casey, as well as Secretary of State George Schultz and members of the National Security Council staff.

His luck was closely tied to his area of expertise. The volatility of the Middle East, and especially of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, was as critical to American foreign policy interests in the 1970’s and 80’s as it continues to be today. Officers on the operations side of the agency appeared to be on fairly loose leashes. Even by those standards Ames was something of a rogue. He operated independently and opened channels without or, arguably, even against directions.

His most important - some would say most notorious - exercise of this sort was starting an active and continuing liaison with the PLO at a time when the U.S.’s public position was that the PLO was a terrorist organization which we neither recognized and with which we eschewed contact. Some within the agency thought that Ames loved the Arabs too much. Certainly he was an unabashed Arabist. He courted and became friendly with a senior PLO intelligence officer named Ali Hassan Saleh and through him was able to communicate indirectly with PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Saleh was later assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

Author Kai Bird interviewed dozens and uncovered a great number of absorbing facts. The story he tells never loses impact, though his prose can be irritatingly casual and breezy. Implicit in his tale is the question of whether the expansive activities of the CIA do as much harm as good, not to mention whether they are worth their high cost. Certainly over the years as many misadventures as positive achievements can be fouund on the record. CIA intelligence functions also duplicate State Department diplomatic reporting, military intelligence, and the vast information gathering capacity of the NSA.

The discord resulting from interagency rivalries and differences of perspective also does damage. George Schultz, when he was Secretary of State, is quoted as saying that Bill Casey “had too much of an agenda”. “It’s a mistake for the CIA to have an agenda”, he added. “They’re supposed to produce intelligence. If they have an agenda, the intelligence gets slanted.”

Overall, this book does little to alter one’s views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the time of the narrative, both sides come across as mendacious, manipulative, and duplicitous. So in that regard, if in no other, nothing has changed.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Not for the casual reader 14 avril 2015
Par Don Etchison - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is a well researched book and presents detailed information about an influential and successful modern American spy. This book is not for the casual reader. The cast of characters is many and their movements around the Middle East complicated. Robert Ames, the good spy, died in one of the first major terrorists attacks against the US. I am of the believe that we did not learn enough from this terrible incident as several other attacks occurred prior to the big one on 9-11. Of course, it is extremely difficult to provide 100% security for surprise suicide killers, yet our giant government seemed slow to react or to recognize the capacity for horrific mass murder. One wonders, after these attacks and the intelligence about terrorism, why were American airlines flying around with the doors to the cockpit unlocked in the year 2001 when the airlines Israel had long stopped this practice? While Ames is a skilled CIA agent, he seemed to me to belong more in the Department of State as a diplomat. Again, this book is not for the casual reader but for those who like heavy duty history and are serious about understanding the Middle East.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Chronicles important time in American, Arab, Israeli history. 2 mars 2015
Par DFCornell - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The story of Robert Ames life as chronicled in this book left me with some unfortunate conclusions. Firstly, the relationship between Israel and their neighbors and the Arab world as a whole has only become worse. Suicide bombers are not a new phenomenon with the rise of ISIS but have been part of history in the Middle East for some time. Spies on the ground have a better feel for our allies and adversaries than their bosses in Washington who may have objectives that are not based on reality. The bombing of the American embassy in Beirut and the siege of the Libyan embassy have dangerous similarities. They both should have been better fortified and protected. There is a strange naïveté we have about this. Lastly, the U.S. needs more "spies", liaisons or agents on the ground connecting, befriending or trying to understand local politics and their bosses in Washington should not second guess their conclusions or expect them to conform to all the rule books at home when needs on the ground are different.

An eye opening book. It gave me some understanding of the radicalization of the Middle East.
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