The Mossad was formed in 1951 to coordinate the intelligence-gathering efforts of the still-young nation of Israel. In the nearly half century since, it has become a force to be reckoned with, boasting an impressive track record of counterterrorist actions and assassinations. Gideon's Spies
is loaded with anecdotes of their greatest exploits (and a few colossal blunders). Among the most interesting sections are the suggestions that Mossad agents killed media tycoon Robert Maxwell in 1991, that the agency's attempted recruitment of Henri Paul, the driver of Princess Diana's car that fateful night, may have caused sufficient emotional distress to be a contributing factor in the accident, and that Mossad operatives in America had tapes of the phone-sex conversations between President Bill Clinton and his lover Monica Lewinsky. There's also some extensive material on the links between the Israelis and the Vatican, including the Mossad's role in the investigation into the attempted 1981 assassination of Pope John Paul II and the agency's constant battles against the PLO. An interesting nonfiction read for fans of international spy thrillers.
From Publishers Weekly
The discipline of Israel's Mossad is legendary: members and former members fiercely guard the intelligence agency's methods and rarely talk to journalists. But many, apparently, did talk to Thomas, a former reporter for Britain's Daily Express, whose numerous books include Chaos Under Heaven, about China's democracy movement. Astute readers, however, will question whether these unnamed informants have given the straight scoop. The opening tale is a case in point. Thomas grabs attention with a riveting yarn about Ritz Hotel chauffeur Henri Paul, driver of the car in which he, Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed all died. Thomas portrays Paul as a slick operator who accepted bribes from photographers seeking to snap the various celebrities he was charged with protecting. According to Thomas, the Mossad threatened to reveal Paul's scam to Ritz authorities if Paul didn't agree to spy for Israel. Thomas breathlessly raises a series of questions before hammering his point: "Was [Paul] not only responsible for a terrible road accident but also the victim of a ruthless intelligence agency?" The story, while titillating, ultimately goes nowhere. The question-mark ending is a device on which Thomas relies all too often, giving readers the impression that his book is full of many more questions than answers. Thomas writes with the pulpy charm familiar to readers of English tabloids; however, his use of unnamed sources and his reliance on conjecture will leave readers intrigued but determined to reserve judgment. Foreign rights sold in Germany, Holland, Israel and the U.K.
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