From Publishers Weekly
Retired CIA agent Kiriakou tells an engrossing story and delivers some strong opinions. Kiriakou earned a degree in Middle Eastern studies, but jobs in this field were scarce in 1988, so he listened when a favorite professor suggested applying to the CIA. As an analyst at the Iraqi-Kuwaiti desk, he oversaw intelligence during Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. By the late '90s, yearning for action, Kiriakou transferred from analysis to operations. There followed a stormy tour in terrorist-ridden Greece and the peak of his career after 9/11 as chief of counterterrorism in Pakistan, where he led a raid that captured an al-Qaeda chief. Except for a hair-raising account of the Bush administration's enthusiasm for torture, the account winds down in its final third when the author returns to the U.S., resigning in 2004. While readers may skim details of his unhappy first marriage, they will enjoy a mostly admiring portrait of the CIA but with telling critiques of its bureaucracy and of Congress's meddling in CIA affairs. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.)
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"The true life story of a US spy on the frontlines of the war on terror, and what that meant for both his personal and professional life. The Reluctant Spy
is a gripping page turner that reads better than fiction. A great read about the murky world of American espionage."—Peter Bergen author of Holy War, Inc.
and Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden
"Kiriakou cracks open the CIA’s vault, revealing an unusually human inside account of what goes on inside. A vivid picture of the tradeoffs facing America in the post 9/11 world."—Jane Mayer, staff writer, The New Yorker Magazine
and author of The Dark Side: How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals