Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$9.99
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very good copy with moderate cover and page wear from being handled and read. Accessories or dust jacket may be missing. Could be an ex-library copy that will have all the stickers and or marking of the library. Some textual or margin notes possible, and or contain highlighting.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey into Revolutionary Iran Hardcover – May, 1997

2.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$12.00 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Developments in U.S.-Iranian relations since the overthrow of the pro-Western monarchy in 1979 have made it increasingly difficult for the two erstwhile allies to maintain a working relationship. Consequently, official American views of Iran are heavily influenced by misperceptions about the political and social forces operating in Iran today. This fascinating and entertaining book by a former member of the CIA's clandestine service is part travelog, part analysis of the dynamics of contemporary Iranian society. Shirley (a pseudonym) was smuggled into Iran by a native, and he here chronicles his clandestine journey, including his encounters and candid discussions with ordinary Iranians. The reader gets a different picture of Iranians than the distorted portrayals routinely found in the mass media and official pronouncements. Recommended for both general and informed lay readers.?Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, Ala.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Shirley says he left the employ of the CIA before sneaking into Iran in 1994, so this is, more accurately, an ex-spy's journey. Although his old bosses, whom Shirley regards as time-serving incompetents, occasionally enter the stage, the main actors are the half dozen Persian personalities Shirley encounters on his brief, high-tension trip. Inside a concealed compartment of a truck, Shirley smuggled himself across the Turkish-Iranian border and made his way to Tabriz and Tehran. He was driven and guided by Hosein, from Iranian Azerbaijan, and met Hosein's various friends and relatives. In between expressive observations on Persian customs, mannerisms, and attitudes toward himself as an American, Shirley posits apt meditations about Persian and Shiite history, which all combine into an unusually interesting travelogue. Exotica are part of the attraction, but the undertone of furtive movement and danger of exposure seals the reading deal. Well written besides, this a remarkable and rare glimpse into the opinions of ordinary Iranians about the U.S. and the theocracy they live under. Gilbert Taylor
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); 1st edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374182191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374182199
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,377,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. "Shirley" (whose identity is now well known) was not quite as high in the CIA's Iran section as he implies, and almost all of what he learnt in Iran was already well known and widely reported. One wonders why he didn't just get a visa and travel there like all the other tourists who visit that country regularly.
1 Comment 9 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
of what Gerecht would call post-Revolutionary Iran pre-9/11.

I like everything the author says about Persia, the Azeris, the inevitable degradation of any revolutionary movement, and his personal observations about the character of everyday, lower class Iranians he has met.

But the book was marketed, and the author participated in what I consider a relative misrepresentation. He wasn't a spy, and he himself doesn't perceive the revolution to be active.

The book does pose one major question, which can only be conjecture: Had the US not continued to invade Iraq after driving the Taliban from power and AQ from its safe haven in Afghanistan (which most Middle Easterners saw as reasonable payback for 9/11), thereby depriving the fundamentalist Islamic clergy (both Sunni and Shi'ia) of the nefarious superpower against which to rail, would the Mullahs in Iran still be in power?

Even Crumpton says that the Bush junta's obsession with Iraq was crazy, and inflamed more anti-American feeling than any Afghanistan/AQ action could ever have.

Without Iraq, could the Arab spring have truly brought freedom to the Middle East? Perhaps. From Gerecht, we must assume it could have, and America seriously damaged itself by listening to our own Neocon mullahs.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
"Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey Into Revolutionary Iran" has a misleading subtitle. It really should be called "A Former Spy's Journey Into Post-Revolutionary Iran." That criticism aside, however, this fictionalized account of former CIA case officer Reuel Marc Gerecht's (writing under the pen name Edward Shirley) real-life travel in Iran is a very good book. I can't think of other authors, aside from Robert Kaplan, who deftly weave history and international relations (like the Safavid dynasty's legacy to the modern Middle East) as well as Gerecht does here.

Replete with history, criticism of the CIA, and musings on espionage, Gerecht takes the reader from the Turkish border all the way to Tehran. Although the book is more of a travelogue than a plot-driven story, Gerecht manages to keep the reader entertained with a sharp writing style and highly-informed narrative. Among the best parts of the book are Gerecht's observations on his former profession and the peculiar task for him to use his knowledge of a country he loves to gets its people to betray their government.

Recommended.
Comment 1 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was not exactly what I expected, but it was worth reading. The world would be a lot better off without thoes who think they know what is best for us all.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I have read Mr. Shirley's Know Thine Enemy, an accomplishment that seems to separate me from the the four or five other recent reviewers of this book.
In fact, those other reviews (mostly unsigned) so obviously miss the point of the book that one wonders if they were not actually written by the shills of a certain three letter government Agency who was skewered so mercilessly by Mr. Shirley in his recent Atlantic cover article and forthcoming book. Since representatives of that same Agency have been quoted as saying they'll 'get' Mr. Shirley for daring to reveal that the Emperor has no clothes, I wouldn't put those reviews past them. Lord knows they were poorly-written enough to have been crafted in the halls of Langley.
But let's stick to the book itself, shall we? In my opinion, it's a neat little gem and it provides a fascinating insight into a foreign culture, one vastly different from the world that the American Mr. Shirley was born into. The author's journey into Iran gives us a peek behind the forebidden curtain of that Great and Powerful Iranian Oz, so that we can see the harmless little old man back there pulling levers. As a result, it's an anti-Bond kind of book and it does not have a spooky ending. That's the whole point, of course, and it's a wonder to me that most of the other reviewers seem to have missed it.
For example, several of these shill reviews ask 'Why didn't Mr. Shirley simply buy a plane ticket to Iran instead of sneaking in in the floorboards of a truck?' The answer is found in the book, of course (as are the answers to all of their other off-the-point and uninformed criticisms). At the time Shirely went in (years ago) it wasn't possible for gringos like himself, especially gringos KNOWN to Iranian Intel as CIA agents, to fly into Iran.
Read more ›
2 Comments 14 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Whoever cares about Iran or Persia can get something from this book. It's not much of a "journey" in the sense of a travelog, but the conversations and the few glimpsed scenes are worth the price. The author also provides lots of interesting, scholarly background, for example, on why Iranians feel so unlucky, and why the CIA is a sinkhole for good ideas. Maybe the saddest moment in the book was the brief chat the author had with an older Iranian, who practically begged to have US should bomb the mollahs. It's sad, not because the mollahs are human beings and should live in peace, but because the thought of the US doing something to rescue people is so old-fashioned.
Comment 3 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews