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A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran [Kindle Edition]

Reza Kahlili
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $10.38
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

A TIME TO BETRAY

This exhilarating, award-winning memoir of a secret double life reveals the heart-wrenching story of a man who spied for the American government in the ranks of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, risking everything by betraying his homeland in order to save it.

Reza Kahlili grew up in Tehran surrounded by his close-knit family and friends. But the enlightened Iran of his youth vanished forever, as Reza discovered upon returning home from studying computer science in the United States, when the revolution of 1979 ushered in Ayatollah Khomeini’s dark age of religious fundamentalism. Clinging to the hope of a Persian Renaissance, Reza joined the Ayatollah’s elite Revolutionary Guards. As Khomeini’s tyrannies unfolded, as fellow countrymen turned on each other, and after the deeply personal horrors he witnessed firsthand inside Evin Prison, a shattered and disillusioned Reza returned to America to dangerously become “Wally,” a spy for the CIA.

In A Time to Betray, Reza not only relates his razor’s-edge, undercover existence from moment to heart-pounding moment as he supplies vital information from the Iran-Iraq War, the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the Iran-Contra affair, and more; he also documents a chain of incredible events that culminates in a nation’s fight for freedom that continues to this very day, making this a timely and vital perspective on the future of Iran and the fate of the world.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Time To Betray is certainly a thriller, with Iranian intelligence always only one step behind Kahlili’s next move. But Kahlili also writes about an idyllic childhood and illustrates the Iran that disappeared after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution."

--Forbes.com

About the Author

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym to protect the author's identity. He was born, raised, and married in Tehran, and now lives in California.

Richard Allen is a five-time Audie-nominated narrator whose work has been acknowledged on the Best Audiobooks Lists for Audiofile and Library Journal.

Product Details

  • File Size: 479 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EUGFW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,109 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
249 of 257 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real hero April 6, 2010
By bookfan
Format:Hardcover
I'm a cynical guy. US politics teaches me that leaders are cowards and fakers who are really out for their own glory. Americans desperately need a hero, and this author is the real deal. He started as a religious idealist whose talents made him the ultimate insider. When he witnessed unspeakable tortures committed against the families of people suspected of betrayal, he betrayed his "brothers." He volunteered to spy for the CIA, loading us up with invaluable information about Khomeini's associates. Every day he had to stare into the faces of people who would torture his wife and baby if they found out, but he kept going. He never got any fame or credit, and he did it totally alone, on his own initiative.

I'm a hard-hearted guy. I don't cry at sappy movies. But Khalili's rendering of his two best friends and their youthful idealism, and the separate paths they chose in the Iranian Revolution, repeatedly got me choked up. The story is tragic and horrifying, the espionage is nail-biting, and as the risks get more intense, I kept saying, "I can't believe this guy is doing this!"

I stayed up all night reading this, surprised the author waited over two decades to tell his story-- why not cash in on his heroism back in 1988?-- until I realized he's driven by one mission, which can be summed up as: "The governing mullahs in Iran cannot be negotiated with, because they've been explicitly planning Armageddon all along." If we can't trust this insider, who can we trust?

I'm not an effusive guy, just groggy from lack of sleep after I stayed up all night with this book. I dare you to read page one. Get hooked by this story and remind yourself what courage is really all about. Our nation should work for a free Iran, if only because the culture produces sterling characters like this author and his childhood friends.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time For Love and Courage April 24, 2010
By Trapper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A Time to Betray

This book wears a mask. Behind the mask there is neither Mister Phelps nor a tape that will self-destruct, but there is an almost unbelievable bundle of real flesh and blood courage and there is a real `Mission Impossible.' Without the mask there would be no book, or only a posthumous one.

So, for God's sake put aside reservations about filters and pseudonyms and fictionalized settings for this stunning first-hand account of a double agent living a double life one heartbeat away from certain death, deep inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.

Read the book.

If it doesn't change your life, it will change your outlook.

It did mine. It changed my view of Iran, which I previously believed to be a nation of madmen. Now I know it is only ruled by madmen, but, just under the surface, it is the home of unmatched heroism.

Despite the vast gulf between our life histories, I feel a kinship with Reza, the man who lived this double life. He came to America as a young man when Shah Pahlavi was still in power and Iran lived in unbalanced prosperity without freedom. Reza drove around in a shiny red Mustang with mag wheels, enjoying his youth just like I did in my shiny red Oldsmobile 442. If we had passed each other on the highway, no doubt we would have waved.

While we were driving around in our shiny red muscle cars, Reza and I were similar in one other respect: we both had two close friends of the kind that might hand off a frog instead of shaking hands just to mock our superiors--or as easily die for each other. Like my friends, Reza's loved American Westerns and each had our favorite hero. Reza's, like mine, was Steve McQueen.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book! It's Brilliant April 6, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I saw a review by Michael Totten who said this book is a real page turner - that he couldn't put it down. True words. It gripped me from the first page. I don't have enough words to describe all the emotions the writer evokes. It reads like a novel, but it's a true story, which the best spy book writers couldn't invent.

You are right there with him as he tries to carry on a normal life working for the Revolutionary Guards, all the while spying for the CIA. The events that turned him into a spy are heart wrenching. You get to know his family and friends as if they were sitting next to you. You feel the terror and sadness of the young people of Iran as they try to deal with a new Thugocracy that's taken over their country. You understand Reza's confusion and being torn, trying to find the right thing to do. You get anxious and feel the panic as he finds himself in situations that you know he can't get out, but he manages. He's still around.

This is the first book I've read about Iran (and I've read several) that paints an accurate picture of the Iranian culture, families, friendships, neighborhoods, home life, schooling, military and the government.

This book should be required reading for everyone in our government so they can understand what's really behind the intentions of the ruling clerics and Amahdinejad. This is an insider's front row view of what's really going on in Iran. Iran's ruling clerics are truly bad people who mean to do us harm and Kahlili clearly presents case after case testifying to it.

Reza Kahlili is an alias and after you read this book, you'll understand why he can't use his real name. I expect since radical Islamists won't know where to find him, they'll attack this book. After you read this book, you'll understand why they'll attack him. This is the most definitive indictment of the corruption and true intentions of some very nasty people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it
Published 3 days ago by Kit McCalla
5.0 out of 5 stars How does some one who is not a fighter, fight?
Extremely engaging through out. In a lunch break conversation a coworker was talking about various statist gov. and how people stood idly by. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Tim Warkan
1.0 out of 5 stars better and more unbiased book on Iran is by former ...
propaganda book. more confusion leading to more misunderstanding between our two countries (Iran and US). Read more
Published 27 days ago by Spike Spiegel
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but
This book started out slow but turned out to be excellently written and extremely interesting. Overall, I loved it and would highly recommend it. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has been out for a while but the ...
This book has been out for a while but the more Iran rises as a regional and, perhaps, world power (at least through its facilitation of terror groups), the more illuminating this... Read more
Published 1 month ago by 2A Lawyer
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad this book was published
Not A LOT of action, but the author's story had enough plot points to keep my attention going until the end. It is an insight into a world we know very little about. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Q1A
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Incredible book that every American should read.
Published 1 month ago by J. Gunter
1.0 out of 5 stars Silly Book
Too silly of a story. Here are a couple of questions for Mr. Kahlili:
1. When you left Iran the first time for LA to start working for the CIA, how did you get a US visa since... Read more
Published 2 months ago by RAZ
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Story
Everyone should read the truth about Iran and the ineffectiveness of our government policies. Once you pick it up you won't set it down. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SysDesigner
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
I found this book very informative about what is going on inside Iran. Well written. Astonishing how religion is being used to kill thousands of people.
Published 2 months ago by Juan Osorno
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More About the Author

REZA KAHLILI is the pseudonym of a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard member who worked undercover as a CIA agent for several years in the '80s and '90s.
He spent an idyllic childhood in Tehran, the capital of Iran, surrounded by a close-knit upper middle-class family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs.
His political and personal freedoms flourished while he continued his education in America during the '70s. He returned to Iran shortly after the Revolution eager to help rebuild his country, honestly believing that freedom and democracy would prevail and lead his country into a glorious future. Even though most Iranians had enjoyed varying degrees of success under the Shah, the ayatollah Khomeini's message resonated with a population weary of oppression and desperate for the political choice denied them under the Shah. To this end, Reza joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that served Khomeini.
Instead of finding a new beginning for his country, he discovered a tyrannical ayatollah bent on plunging Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism and causing his fellow countrymen to turn on each other. Shaken to his very core after witnessing the atrocities at Evin Prison, atrocities that hit very close to home, a shattered and disillusioned Reza embarked on a mission that would change his life forever. He returned to America and emerged as "Wally," a spy for the CIA.
Counterintelligence, coded communications, escape tactics and evasion, dominated his new life. He risked exposure daily and after several close calls, he managed to leave Iran. His CIA activities continued in Europe for a few more years before he and his family finally moved to America.
After the 9/11 attack, Reza Kahlili activated a handful of sources within Iran and once again contacted the CIA. He continues as an active voice for a free Iran and works toward ending the thugocracy of the mullah's regime. He has written several articles for various media expressing his opinions and hope for a free Iran.
He now lives in California.

"A Time to Betray" was the winner of the 2010 National Best Book Award, and the 2011 International Best Book Award. The book is set to become a movie.

"A Time to Betray" is now part of JCITA's (Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy of DOD) Iranian Program's readings.

http://atimetobetray.com/


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"A Time to Betray" is a hoax book by a political operative
Your post belies its own argument.

I took your advice to think critically Mr Newlie -- I also investigated critically as well and followed the link you posted. What you conveniently forget to tell the us is that as a PROLOGUE to the article you cite, Pajamas Media states the... Read More
Sep 13, 2010 by Daniel L. Remler |  See all 19 posts
Iran will destroy us all Be the first to reply
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