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Agents of Innocence: A Novel Paperback – September 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (September 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393317382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393317381
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The factional strife in Lebanon feeds on rumor, deliberate lies, and half-truths, and spawns mercenaries and agents of every ideological stripe. Most share a harsh morality that allows terrorism to advance. A very few others are committed to relationships built on trust, honesty, and a sense of mutual responsibility. One such is Tom Rogers, a CIA agent who penetrates a prime Palestinian unit and makes a secret agreement with a young deputy chief of Fatah intelligence. This first novel is a suspenseful account of the excruciating ambiguity of the undertaking. Ignatius, a former Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, writes with a fatalistic affection for his subject and deep understanding of its complexity. As a storyteller, Ignatius deploys drama, pace, and character to make this a spy novel of formidable power. Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“An uncommonly informative and intriguing espionage thriller.” (Time)

“An unparalleled and hauntingly accurate portrait of how the intelligence game is really played.” (Bob Woodward)

“A first-rate achievement in the best tradition of Graham Greene.” (Los Angeles Times)

More About the Author

David Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. His novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment. He lives in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

Very interesting and well written.
cella
His characters make this book come alive, not the plotting, not the story as much but the individuals he created.
Jan D.
It's also a great insight into how the US works in the middle east.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Glenn M. Frazier on May 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
In another time, David Ignatius's Agents of Innocence would be great escapist literature. In today's world, however, it is a gripping-and all-too haunting-tale of extreme relevance.
...
The tale is set primarily in the labyrinthine world of Lebanon in the 1970's and 1980's, and follows the career of the fictional CIA case officer, Tom Rogers. When Rogers arrives in Beirut, it is September 1969, the eve of the tragic implosion of cosmopolitan Lebanon. By the conclusion of the story, terrorists have brought the nation to its knees. Throughout it all, Rogers desperately tries to keep from being overcome by events as he develops "assets"-and relationships-in an attempt to keep tabs on the growing threat of militant radicalism. If you know your history, then I don't have to tell you that this is a tragic tale.
The author draws heavily from his experience covering the growth of terrorism in Lebanon for the Washington Post. To an extent, the book is a fictionalization of life of real-world CIA man, Robert Ames. Purportedly, this novel is on the reading list at "The Farm" (the CIA's training ground at Camp Peary near Williamsburg, VA), and CIA Director George Tenet himself recommended this book in an interview on NPR several years ago. On top of that, it also does an admirable job of making sense (as far as possible) of the wild and varied religious, cultural and political forces operating in the region today.
That being said, this is fiction, not journalism; while the history it covers is essentially true, it would be a good idea to do some non-fiction reading as well if you want to more fully understand the Middle East picture. Still, the glimpse it gives of life in the field is fascinating, and as entertainment it is an excellent read.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Agents Of Innocense is guaranteed to be a page turner. It is a wonderful spy story. Being from Lebanon myself, I can tell that the author not only has spent a great deal of time living in the Middle East, but he shares a bond with its culture. I have read one other David Ignatius novel, A Firing Offence, and am reading SIRO now, and became fascinated by his writing style. It is very descriptive and elegant and it prepares the reader for the plot by charging the reader with emotions for and against all the characters of the story. Agents Of Innocence is a fantastic novel set in Lebanon describing very vividly the political atmosphere of the Middle East starting in the 60's and culminating with the explosion that destroyed the American Embassy in Beirut, as well as the changes in the CIA that lead to that. The events of the novel are from the point of view of a CIA case officer who loved the Middle East, understood its people and spoke their language fluently. He managed to penetrate the most dominant branch of the Palestinian resistance, and established relationships where none could ever have been conceived. Enjoy it
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By James Jones on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was first turned on to this novel by an actual CIA recruiter. He said that it was the most true to life representation of the lives of CIA operations officers. Ignatius' extensive research really rings through, and allows the reader to become immersed in a world of espionage, deceit, and betrayal. Highly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ChicagoMcP on April 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Read the review of author's newest book in WSJ and bought a used paperback of "Agents of Innocence" last week. LeCarre's works top my lists, and former CIA Director Woolsey's quote in the review about his two favorite spy novels being "Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and "Agents of Innocence" was enough for me to track it down.

It is a fantastic read with a blending of history, fact and fiction. The author's knowledge of the Middle East, the players, and their ancient battles for this ancient land was very similar to LeCarre's grasp of the Cold War.

What struck me over the head was the powerful letter from the agent to a former case officer at the end -- although the book was written 20 years ago, it could have been written yesterday!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have an extensive background in security and intelligence and there is no finer fiction available about the CIA and the Middle East during the 1970's-1980's. It is considered to be the most accurate and realistic book of its kind, and it has maintained its ranking on the mandatory reading list of those in the field for over two decades. The fact that it is also a truly outstanding read goes without saying!!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By CollectedReader on January 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Amazing read. I just finished reading this book, and I am very much planning to read more of David's novels (as this was the first one I've read).
From beginning to end nothing can be assumed in this book. It gave a very realistic feel to the spy game and to middle east politics. Though it takes places years ago the story could have taken place today. It's sad to see how little has changed in this area of the world.
Agents of Innocence gives the reader a inside look at the geopolitics of the middle east and how the CIA, Mossad, Fatah and other groups operate and interoperate. Very good morale tale, and ending. I just loved it. Thanks David for a great book and some very fine writing and for my friends who gave it to me as a christmas present.
How well you know I'd love this book.
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