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Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations that Helped Win the Cold War [Kindle Edition]

Antonio Mendez , Jonna Mendez , Bruce Henderson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.95
Kindle Price: $13.59
You Save: $8.36 (38%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc


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Book Description

From the author of the Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominated Argo, a true-life thriller set against the backdrop of the Cold War, which unveils the life of an American spy from the inside and dramatically reveals how the CIA reestablished the upper hand over the KGB in the intelligence war.

From the author of the Golden Globe winner and Academy Award winner Argo...

Moscow, 1988. The twilight of the Cold War. The KGB is at its most ruthless, and has now indisputably gained the upper hand over the CIA in the intelligence war. But no one knows how. Ten CIA agents and double-agents have gone missing in the last three years. They have either been executed or they are unaccounted for.

At Langley, several theories circulate as to how the KGB seems suddenly to have become telepathic, predicting the CIA's every move. Some blame the defection of Edward Lee Howard three years before, and suspect that there are more high-placed moles to be unearthed. Others speculate that the KGB's surveillance successes have been heightened by the invention of an invisible electromagnetic powder that allows them to keep tabs on anyone who touches it: spy dust.

CIA officers Tony Mendez and Jonna Goeser come together to head up a team of technical wizards and operational specialists, determined to solve the mystery that threatens to overshadow the Cold War's final act. Working against known and unknown hostile forces, as well as some unfriendly elements within the CIA, they devise controversial new operational methods and techniques to foil the KGB, and show the extraordinary lengths that US intelligence is willing to go to protect a source, then rescue him when his world starts to collapse. At the same time, Tony and Jonna find themselves falling deeply in love.

During a fascinating odyssey that began in Indochina fifteen years before and ends in a breathtakingly daring operation in the heart of the Kremlin's Palace of Congresses, Spy Dust catapults the reader from the Hindu Kush to Hollywood, from Havana to Moscow, but cannot truly conclude until its protagonists are safely wedded in rural Maryland.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Retired CIA disguise expert Antonio Mendez (The Master of Disguise) teams up with his wife, also a former agent, to reveal how they fell in love during a highly critical mission in the waning years of the Cold War. Antonio and Jonna shift back and forth in their account as separate assignments eventually converge in the extrication from Moscow of a high-ranking KGB mole, jeopardized by the traitorous dealings of men like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. Fans of Alan Furst's WWII espionage novels will appreciate the subdued nature of this thriller, where the stakes are always high but the individual actions are usually low-key, as well as the details the Mendezes provide on the art of eluding surveillance. The title is a red herring although "spy dust" was a real element of the KGB's operations against foreigners in Moscow, its role in this story is of a background nature. The climax hinges on a much more old-fashioned game of cat and mouse. There are a few weak spots in the narrative, where the authors (or their collaborator, true-crime scribe Henderson) try to recreate scenes at which they weren't present, but for the most part this is an entertaining thriller with the added virtue of being true. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

"Spy dust" is a chemical marking compound developed by the KGB (Soviet secret police) to help track targeted individuals. It is just one of the tools and techniques discussed by the authors, who headed up the Disguise and Documents Division of the CIA's Office of Technical Service and are now consultants for the CBS TV drama series The Agency. The authors met in the mid-1980s while helping to rebuild U.S. intelligence operations in the USSR, which had been severely crippled by American traitors selling secret information to the Soviets. Included here are fascinating tales of clandestine meetings, narrow escapes, missed clues, ingenious equipment, and various successes and failures, and the reader soon comes to realize that a lot of professional brain power goes into planning and carrying out this deadly game with the highest stakes imaginable. There is a glossary of spy terms at the end of the book, but a map of Moscow would have helped. This interesting and easy-to-read tale complements Antonio Mendez's The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA and is suitable for the espionage sections of both public and academic libraries. [Index not seen] Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, I.
- Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (November 7, 2003)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0UQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,170 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative Voice April 27, 2004
Like Antonio Mendez' first book, Master of Disguise, this excellent entry in true espionage is filled with the nuts and bolts of daily intelligence work. As described in the book, it is a life that is messy, frustrating, and in the odd rare moment, filled with coincidences that are all the more satisfying because they are true. The tone is light, crisp and clear. As one would expect from Bruce Henderson, the story is narrative-driven, providing a human element and strong sense of place within the events described. The book offers no "dirt" on the CIA - Mendez is a loyal company man - but there is much insight into the workings of the organization during tumultuous and key years. The glossary is thorough without being exhaustive. Non-fiction fans and those interested in espionage will be pleased. David R. Bannon, Ph.D.; author "Race Against Evil."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real spying is not a James Bond movie April 8, 2003
By Nati
My wife and I enjoyed the story line and the detail of the real trade. Unlike sensationalized books, we enjoyed knowing that what we read was actual spy craft and not an author's fantasy. The love story adds a human element to the tale in a world of characters usually thought to be as ice cold or as sensual as ... Galore. Real world spying without the cliffhanger made for movie scenes. Great read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulling the curtain back just a little... March 28, 2006
This book, by Antonio Mendez and his wife Jonna, is an intriguing memoir of two CIA employees at work during the closing years of the Cold War. Like most Cold War memoirs and histories, Spy Dust offers an insight into a small portion of the overall struggle between the USA and the USSR. As loyal CIA retirees, they don't really allow us to see all that much, but by pulling the curtain back just a little, the insight is fascinating.

The book reads more like a spy novel than a non fiction book, and the parallels made me wonder how much in current spy fiction is actually fact. I have heard others say that the truth would actually be stranger than fiction, and this book makes me believe that that statement is actually true.

One statement that I found particularly telling was at a conference after the end of the Cold War where the current and past CIA Directors shared the podium with the former KGB Director of Foreign Counterintelligence, General Oleg Kalugin. In scoring the success of American vs. Soviet Human Intelligence efforts, he rated the U.S. successes as five times that of the Soviets, an amazing admission from a former enemy.

I think any reader will find this book very interesting and easy to follow and enjoy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, fascinating account of real world spying January 8, 2004
By Amadeuz
I found this book to be an engrossing look at the real world of espionage. While reading the book I felt like I was reading a script for a spy movie. It's hard to believe that people actually use some of the techniques that you see on the big screen. I'd like to disagree with some of the other reviews about the book. The love story actually is a minor part of the overall structure of the book. I think it makes the authors seem more real and human rather than your usual stereotypical super spy that can leap buildings in single bound. Although I wouldn't consider the book a pinnacle of literary prose, it is very readable and, in general, well written. I particularly enjoyed their detailed decriptions of the actual operations. I felt like I actually got a taste (at least on a superficial level) of the tension, planning, stress, and adrenaline rush that must go on during an operation. I also found Jonna's version of events more enjoyable than Tony's. As to the reviewer who said that there weren't gadgets, well he must have been reading the wrong book. I found plenty of mention of various techniques, but of course they couldn't describe it in detail. I'm sure alot of it is still being used in the field and is still classified! At any rate, this book gives you a good sampling of what the life of real life spies are like and I highly recommend it for a quick informative read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Tale of a Legendary CIA Duo May 17, 2005
While reality is sometimes said to be stranger than fiction, leave it to CIA veterans Tony and Jonna Mendez to create a memoir of their overseas adventures that truly boggles the mind. Whether breaking into a Soviet installation to steal a code machine, exfiltrating a pair of agents out of Moscow with the help of a CIA "ninja," or inventing new methods of throwing off KGB surveillance, this dynamic duo still found time for love while performing their duties in a demanding career that leaves little personal time. It couldn't have happened to two better people.

With so many autobiographies out there by ex-CIA operations officers, "Spy Dust" offers a distinct perspective on Cold War espionage history in that it was written by a husband-and-wife team of disguise artists, thus giving it that playful, creative flavor that makes this book all the more appealing. Even the title of the book is a play on words, if you think about it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD read January 21, 2005
By Spook
I totally enjoyed this book. If you like stories about clandestine operations, you will love this one. Just enough background description, a small amount of romance and good descriptions of undercover ops.

I only wish they would have been able to tell some of the things that are still classified. Sometimes I had to 'read between the lines' in order to figure out what was REALLY going on.

Read it. You will like it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars well written fascianting
This book is really well written and captivating. You get a real sense of the people and I would recommend it .
Published 1 month ago by Margaret
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fascinating read
Great life stories woven together about life as a spy. It was fun and fascinating for me to read about the "theater" of being a spy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laurel
5.0 out of 5 stars The secrets of Cold War
I found the whole story fascinating and well written, especially the last episode. Having lived in that period I was aware of things like that going on but never got to know the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andreas Papademetriou
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CIA Read!
Great insight into the running of CIA Operations during the Cold War with real life missons! If you liked the books Argo and Master of Disguises by one of the authors, Toni Medez,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hogranger
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroic and Romantic
I confess, I'm biased. I think Tony Mendez isn't just one of the 50 most important spies in the history of the Clandestine Services (CIA), I think he's the stuff that makes the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Schamberger
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyable mix of professional and personal. Knowing the back stories of the world I grew up in is always interesting.
Published 6 months ago by Treefrog
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it
This was a great book detailing a love story that occurred while the two heroes worked for the CIA. Tony and Jonna Mendez worked for the CIA during the 80's and early 90's. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Denise L. Cohen123da45id
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold War espoinage at it's best
Some reviewers complain that the "spy dust" mentioned in the title is only mentioned once in the book, but this book is not about spy dust, rather it's about the exploits of two... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Danny
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
There is nothing wrong with the content of the book. Interesting what these people accomplished.

The problem I had was with the quality of the print material in the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ron
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading
The book gives a good insight to what our agents do and how they got informants out by using patience and disguise. Also shows some ofd the inner-workings of CIA politics.
Published 16 months ago by D. W. Burns
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