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The Master Of Disguise: My Secret Life In The Cia Paperback – 1999

432 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (1999)
  • ASIN: B0023XA7E6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (432 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,591,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Walter S. Mcintosh on November 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I worked very closely with Tony for many years and can attest to the authenticity of this book. I was saddened to learn through the book of the death of Karen Mendez . Tony truly was an action oriented person and his operational career was certainly not representative of Authentication Officers. This book says something about America and the Agency. The fact that a guy named Mendez , undereducated , from a town so small and isolated ( I spent the summer of 1946 there myself) could be so honored speaks volumes. For those who want to know about the can do sprirt that so characterized the Agency I knew , this is a must read.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Mendez has shared with his readers a very real sense of what it was to be inside the CIA, and then inside some of their most exciting (and up to this point) secret operations. It is interesting that the CIA has allowed these stories to be told now, but in fact, after reading them, it is apparent that the intelligence equities are not affected. In each case the or foreign source has been safely rescued and resettled or the case has been finalized, once with the ultimate sacrifice on the part of the asset. I was thoroughly caught up in these tales of rescue and escapes from danger. It is amazing that these true stories are even more exciting than the Clancey books. His first book is a definite must read and will be on my Christmas gift list for several of my friends.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David Nardella on January 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book for my thirtieth birthday approximately a month ago and since receiving it, I really had a difficult time putting it down!
From his hiring to training to actual field experiences, Mr. Mendez really allows the reader to know each event in great detail. Each chapter provides a new adventure!
I actually found myself feeling nervous as I read his stories of exfiltrations. I cannot imagine the amount of fear a person must experience as they provide phony identification to government officials in unfriendly countries. What becomes quickly apparent is the extreme courage of Mr. Mendez and others who truly risked their lives to protect the American way of life. This book also leaves the reader with a philosophical view towards why such espionage activities are necessary.
Of particular interest was the way Mr. Mendez related childhood activities to his career. I think that most people, myself included, can often relate such early experiences to current day career paths. In that respect, I feel that everyone in any profession will learn some life lessons from this book.
Finally, I'd only like to say that I wish the book was longer. Who knows, maybe Mr. Mendez will honor the American public with a second book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Day Williams on August 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
The ambitious Mendez rose from his roots in a Nevada mining camp to become one of the top 50 agents in the CIA's first 50 years. His stories, based on his real-life adventures, crackle more than than many spy novels and movies. The CIA authorized Mendez to write this book, which casts the Company in a favorable light as the rescuer of double agents on the run and Americans caught in a revolution. With deft descriptions, Mendez portrays cities and operations in the Far East, the Middle East and Communist Moscow. Relying on Hollywood techniques, Mendez became the master of disguise who could make a Soviet agent unrecognizable to a KGB associate. The writing is straightforward and fast-paced.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in the CIA and the Cold War then you will love this book. Tony Mendez really did a super job in writing this. I found it very interesting and informative. I love Tom Clancy's novels and this is really so much more informative and more like real life as it actually is in the CIA. Men and women putting their life on the line every minute of the day somewhere in this world to help the USA remain a free country.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In his autobiography, decorated CIA veteran Tony Mendez has written a detailed and fascinating account of spy operations during the Cold War. Other books have told us what the CIA did, but this is the first and only to expose the secrets of how they did it! Tony's unique career, and mastery of disguises, deception, forgery, and exfiltration, show us that the gadgets utilized by "James Bond" weren't alwaus fictional! Spy agencies worldwide will make THE MASTER OF DISGUISE required reading for intelligence officers; the new KGB will probably charter a plane to rush the first 100 copies straight to Moscow! H Keith Melton; author of THE ULTIMATE SPY BOOK
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful By "sunproperties" on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although this book does shed light on a few details of tradecraft and mission, it is poorly written and has nil factor in entertainment value (except chapters 8 and 9 about work in Moscow and Teheran). I read "Master of Disguise" while also rereading Pete Early's "Confessions of a Spy" and I couldn't help but to think how wonderful "Master" could have been with the level of scholarship and thought in Pete Early's book. On top of it all this book doesn't have an index and in a book this boring it would have been really nice to have one.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book is well written making it a quick and interesting read. Tony details behind the scene facts that have never been exposed before. He provides an insight into the spy world that ended the cold war. I have read several books on the CIA and this is by far the best one I have read.
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