Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our Man in the Middle East



In The Good Spy, Kai Bird tells the tale of CIA superspy Robert Ames, who many believe best understood the Middle East.  Unfortunately, he died in a bomb blast outside the US embassy in Beirut in 1983,  Surprisingly, there hasn't been much written on Ames, and google searches yield little in the way of information, so this book will no doubt shed a considerable amount of light on him.

It seems the biography came out of the research on a previous book, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate, which covers the period 1956-78 in the Israeli-Arab conflict, in which Bird grew up.  The reviewer described it as a "meandering family scrapbook cobbled together with an earnest, condensed history of the region," whereas The Good Spy appears to be more deeply researched, like his and Martin Sherwin's biography of Oppenheimer.  The book is due out in May.

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